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Images of British Lichens

Cladonia gracilis (L.) Willd.

Podetia tall, brownish or greenish grey to dark brown, sparingly branched, finely pointed or terminating in small, well-formed, abruptly widened cups with a crown-like ring of shortly stalked brown pycnidia around the margin, podetial surface lacking soredia, smooth but beset with minute, green areoles, squamules absent, or sparsely distributed on the lower parts of the podetia; basal squamules ephemeral; apothecia brown, developed on the margins of the podetial cups. Widespread and locally common in lichen heaths, often where slightly shaded.

In Britain, our variant is subsp. gracilis; other subspp. are recognised in northern Europe (Ahti, 1980, Ann. Bot. Fenn. 17: 201-15). C. furcata can be very similar but lacks cups; C. crispata is also very similar but the cups are perforate (i.e. the podetial tip is expanded into an cup-shaped ring, open at the centre, often with growth of the podetium continuing from one side of the ring).

Refs: Smith et al. (2009), 329; Purvis et al. (1992), 209; Nordic Lichen Flora (2013) 5: 45, 100 (photo, subsp. gracilis); Dobson (2005), 140 (photo); Dobson (2011), 147 (photo); Britton (2008) 28 (photo); Jahns (1983), 218-219 (photo); Allen (2007), 22 (photo); Whelan (2011), 75 (photo); van Herk & Aptroot (2004, 2013), 144-145 (photo); Aptroot et al. (2011), 80-1 (photos); Wirth (1995), 1: 308, 329 (photo); Wirth et al. (2004), 83 (photo); Wirth, Hauck & Schulz (2013), 1: 384, 399 (photo); Krog et al. (1994), 158 (photo); Moberg & Holmåson (1984), 143 (photo); Holien & Tønsberg (2008), 92 (photo); Valcárcel et al. (2003), 162-3 (photo); Stenroos et al. (2011), 140-3 (photos, as sspp.); Hansen & Andersen (1995), 29 (photo); Thomson (1967) 95, plate 9 (photo); Brodo et al. (2001), 256-7 (photo); Øvstedal & Lewis Smith (2001), 167, plate 33 (photo); Lichen Atlas of the British Isles 2: 392 (1996).


Cladonia gracilis
In heather moorland, near Schiehallion, Perthshire, August 2009
Cladonia gracilis
Cladonia gracilis, with apothecia
In mixed Cladonia community in upland heath, Mar Estate, Aberdeenshire, April 2008. Lower photograph of colony with apothecia.
Cladonia gracilis
Amongst upland boulders, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, March 2008

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Uploaded March 2009, last updated January 2016