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Images of British Lichens



Lichenomphalia umbellifera (L.) Redhead, Lutzoni, Moncalvo & Vilgalys
 
(= Omphalina ericetorum (Pers.) H.E. Bigelow;
Phytoconis ericetorum (Pers.) Redhead & Kuyper;
Botrydina botryoides (L.) Redhead & Kuyper;
? Omphalina fulvopallens P.D. Orton)


A basidiolichen with the thallus a coarsely granular algal mat (granules to 300 µm diameter fide Redhead & Kuyper, 1987) in a hyphal matrix ('Botrydina' type thallus), and a toadstool for the fruitbody: cap omphalioid, umbilicate, cream-brown, yellow-brown, to clay-brown or pale grey-brown, darker in the depressed centre, rarely pure cream to pale yellow (especially in sterile fruitbodies), when mature with a striate to sulcate or fluted crenulate margin, gills pallid-cream, strongly decurrent, stipe concolorous with cap but paler, tinged fawn to red-brown at apex (a good field character), typically 2–3 × cap diameter, surface matt, very minutely pubescent, often white-strigose at base. Microscopically the tissues lack clamp connections, gill trama of narrow, thin-walled, bidirectionally branched hyphae, spores colourless, broadly ellipsoid to subglobose, 7–10.5(–11)×(4.5–)6–8 µm (measurements from Elborne, 2008). On peat and peaty soil, well rotted wood, and decaying Sphagnum in peat bogs, widespread and generally common in suitable habitats, both lowland and upland, much our commonest Lichenomphalia.

Refs: Elborne (2008), 225, (2012), 294-5; Smith et al. (2009), 555; Purvis et al. (1992), 402 (as O. ericetorum), also ? 403 (as O. pseudoandrosacea); Barrasa & Rico (2001), 373-376 (photomicrographs, as O. ericetorum); Dobson (2011), 258 (photo); Dalby & Dalby (2005), 17 (photo, as Omphalina, with doubt but correct); Phillips (2006), 79 (photo); Sterry & Hughes (2009), 138-9 (photo); Buczacki et al. (2012), 198-9 (colour illustration); Courtecuisse & Duhem (1995), 186, 187 (colour illustration, as Phytoconis ericetorum); Ryman & Holmåson (1984), 259 (photo, as O. umbellifera); Holien & Tønsberg (2008), 206 (photo); Stenroos et al. (2011) 259 (photo); Wirth (1995), 2: 618 (photo, as O. umbellifera); Wirth et al. (2004), 311 (photo); Breitenbach & Kränzlin (1991), 190-1 (photo, as Gerronema ericetorum); Puntillo (1996), plate 26 (photo, as O. ericetorum).
Although the photograph in Dobson (2005), pg. 287, is cited in Smith et al. to represent this species, I do not believe it is correctly named. It is replaced in Dobson (2011). That in Phillips (1981), 69, looks like Omphalina pyxidata, as do certain other published and Internet photographs.

A number of small, omphalioid, non-lichenised agarics can occur on bare, peaty soil and not uncommonly fruit through algal mats on the soil surface, and some of these resemble L. umbellifera, but lack the fawn to red-brown colour at the stipe apex. Most of these look-alikes are now placed in the genus Arrhenia, but confusion with Omphalina pyxidata is also very possible. This latter species (or species complex) has a smooth, pale, more translucent stem, lacking deeper colour at the apex, and the cap is often a more orange brown, but microscopic confirmation may at times be wise. It is most typical of sandy/peaty soil, reportedly sometimes after burning.

 
Lichenomphalia_umbellifera
Lichenomphalia_umbellifera, close-up of young fruiting body, showing stipe pubescence
On degraded peat, Hare Cleugh, Lammermuirs, East Lothian, July 2010
 
Lichenomphalia umbellifera
Sphagnicolous variant (?= Omphalina fulvopallens), here on degraded top of old Sphagnum hummock, by Whiteadder Water, Lammermuirs, East Lothian, July 2010


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Uploaded January 2011, last updated August 2013