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Tuatara: Volume 2, Issue 1, March 1949

A Note on the Crustaceous Lichens of New Zealand

page 15

A Note on the Crustaceous Lichens of New Zealand.

Crustaceous lichens are abundant in New Zealand both in species and individuals. They occur on rocks from sea-level to the upper limits of plant life. They are also plentiful on bark and soil, while one family is confined to the surface of leaves. Opinions differ greatly concerning the limits of families, genera and species, and for detailed knowledge intensive microscopic work is required. It is not impossible, however, to gain a good general knowledge of families and many genera by fairly simple observational methods. For ecological purposes this general knowledge is not to be despised as hitherto lichens have been sorely neglected in studies of vegetation. A difficulty is that there remain probably many hundreds of species yet to be collected and identified. Several overseas specialists are anxious to obtain specimens from New Zealand of their particular groups and a student desiring to make any special study would do well to get into touch with one of these workers. The numbers of the figures attached to this note follow on from those of the previous note in “Tuatara,” Vol. 1, No. 3.

Key To The Commoner Families.

1. Fruit a perithecium (Fig. 8)—Pyrenocarpeae 2
Fruit an apothecium (Figs. 9, 10, 11, 13)—Gymnocarpeae 5
2. Plants found as small crusts on leaves Strigulaceae
Plants found on some other substratum 3
3. Gonidia belong to Protococcaceae or Palmelia Verrucariaceae
Gonidia belonging to Trentepohlia 4
4. Fruits occurring singly, without a stroma Pyrenulaceae
Fruits grouped in a stroma Trypetheliaceae
5. Mature spores lying loose in a powdery mass—Coniocarpineae 6
Mature spores not as above 7
6. Apothecia stalked Caliciaceae
Apothecia sessile Cypheliaceae
7. Apothecia elongate, with narrow slit-like openings—Graphidineae 8
Apothecia circular and open—Cyclocarpineae 9
8. Apothecia flat, not marginal Arthoniaceae
Apothecia raised, with distinct margin Graphidaceae
9. Apothecia without a thalline margin (Fig. 11) 10
Apothecia with a thalline margin (Fig. 13) 13
10. Gonidia belonging to Protococcaceae 11
Gonidia belonging to Trentepohlia 12
page 16
11. Apothecia with prominent double margin Diploschistaceae
Apothecia without a double margin Lecideaceae
12. Apothecia with prominent double margin Thelotremaceae
Apothecia without a double margin Lecanactidaceae
13. Apothecia immersed in thalline tubercles Pertusariaceae
Apothecia not immersed in thalline tubercles 14
14. Spores brown Buelliaceae
Spores colourless 15
15. Spores simple or variously septate Lecanoraceae
Spores polarilocular Caloplacaceae

Key to Commoner Genera.

1. Fruits immersed in pits in rock, especially limestone 2
Fruits not immersed in pits in rock 5
2. Fruit an apothecium 3
Fruit a perithecium 4
3. Spores colourless, thalline margin absent (Fig. 47) Lecidea
Spores brown or dark, thalline margin present Rinodina
4. Spores simple Verrucaria
Spores septate or muriform Arthopyrenia
5. Spores polarilocular, thallus yellowish Blastenia
Spores not polarilocular, thallus not yellowish 6
6. Mature spores lying loose in a powdery mass 7
Mature spores not lying loose in a powdery mass 8
7. Apothecia stalked Calicium
Apothecia sessile Cyphelium
8. Fruits borne on podetia (Fig. 23) 9
Fruits not borne on podetia 10
9. Podetia hollow Cladonia
Podetia solid Baeomyces
10. Fruits elongate or radiate 11
Fruits more or less circular 18
11. Apothecia aggregated in wart-like parts of thallus Enterographa
Apothecia not so aggregated 12
12. Apothecium without a proper margin 13
Apothecium with proper margin (Fig. 13) 14
13. Spores muriform Arthothelium
Spores septate Arthonia
14. Apothecia irregularly roundish Lecanactis
Apothecia linear 15
15. Spores muriform Graphina
Spores septate 16
16. Apothecia superficial Opegrapha
Apothecia immersed 17
17. Spores colourless (Fig. 45) Graphis
Spores brown Phaeographis
page 17
18. Fruit a perithecium 19
Fruit an apothecium 26
19. Perithecia more or less joined together Melanotheca
Perithecia scattered 20
20. Gonidia green 21
Gonidia orange or reddish 23
21. Hymenium (Fig. 13) with algae cells Staurothele
Hymenium without algal cells 22
22. Spores simple Verrucaria
Spores septate Thelidium
23. Paraphyses (Fig. 13) unbranched and distinct 24
Paraphyses branched or entangled and obscure 25
24. Spores brown Pyrenula
Spores colourless Porina
25. Spores colourless Arthopyrenia
Spores brown Microthelia
26. Apothecia seated in warts on thallus (verrucae) Pertusaria
Apothecia not seated in warts 27
27. Apothecia with both proper and thalline margin 28
Apothecia with one or no margin 29
28. Gonidia green Diploschistes
Gonidia orange to reddish (Fig. 46) Thelotrema
29. Ascus (Fig. 13) with many spores Candelariella
Ascus with eight or fewer spores 30
30. Apothecium with thalline margin 31
Apothecium without thalline margin 33
31. Spores simple (Fig. 42, 43) Lecanora
Spores septate or polarilocular 32
32. Spores 1-septate, dark Rinodina
Spores several times septate (Fig. 40) Haematomma
33. Gonidia orange or reddish 34
Gonidia green 35
34. Apothecia dark Lecanactis
Apothecia brightly coloured Microphiale
35. Spores simple Lecidea
Spores septate or muriform 36
36. Spores colourless or nearly so 38
Spores brown or dark 37
37. Spores muriform Rhizocarpon
Spores 1-septate Buellia
38. Ascus with a single large spore Lopadium
Ascus with eight or several spores 39
39. Spores septate, acicular Bacidia
Spores muriform, oblong Rhizocarpon
page 18

STRIGULACEAE.—Two genera of this family are known in New Zealand on the leaves of tawa, titoki, ramarama, Asplenium and a few other trees and shrubs. Strigula has a more or less orbicular yellowish thallus, and Phylloporina a more irregular greyish thallus.

VERRUCARIACEAE.—Verrucaria is the genus most commonly met with in New Zealand. The species are most prevalent on coastal rocks, the thin dark thallus closely investing the rock-surface.

PYRENULACEAE.—Mostly bark-inhabiting species with several genera represented here. A species of Arthopyrenia forms tiny dark spots on sessile barnacles. There are several species of Pyrenula not easily distinguished in the field.

CALICIACEAE.—The stalked fruits of Calicium look like minute pins stuck on the thallus. The family has not been much studied in New Zealand.

CYPHELIACEAE.—A species of Cyphelium with a greyish thallus and uniseptate brown spores occurs on rock in tussock-grassland.

ARTHONIACEAE.—A few bark-inhabiting species of Arthothelium with muriform spores have been recorded. A. vermiferum forms small greyish flecks on the leaves of Metrosideros colensoi and other species.

GRAPHIDACEAE.—The family is widely distributed here, but has been little studied. The genera found are keyed.

1. Cells of spores longer than wide, spores Fusiform Opegrapha
Cells of spores wider than long 2
2. Spores brown, muriform Phaeographina
Spores colourless 3
3. Spores multiseptate Graphis
Spores muriform Graphina

LECIDEACEAE.—A very large family with many genera and a multitude of species. Zahlbruckner lists over sixty species of Lecidea for New Zealand, others have been recorded and described, and probably many more await discovery.

1. Spores simple 2
Spores septate or muriform 3
2. Spores thick-walled, large Mycoblastus
Spores thin-walled, small Lecidea
3. Spores 1-septate 4
Spores 3- or more- septate, or muriform 5
4. Spores thin-walled, small Catillaria
Spores thick-walled, large (Fig. 44) Megalospora
5. Spores muriform 6
Spores septate, elongate Bacidia
page 19
6. Spores colourless, plant on bark or leaves Lopadium
Spores brown or colourless, plant on rock Rhizocarpon The genus Lecidia is divided into sections:—
1. Thallus distinctly lobed on the margin Psora
Thallus not lobed on the margin 2
2. Apothecia black, hard Eulecidia
Apothecia light in colour, waxy, soft Biatora

Catillaria is well represented, but the species are difficult to distinguish by simple characters. A few species of Megalospora have been recorded; M. marginiflexa is widely distributed on the bark of trees. Bacidia occurs on rock and bark, both coastally and inland. One species has been recorded from leaves of podocarps.

Toninia belongs to this family, but has a corticate, warted squamulose thallus. One species occurs on limestone. Lopadium—The several species of this genus recorded for New Zealand occur on leaves. L. coerulescens has a wide range of hosts, including Asplenium. Rhizocarpon has several species, of which R. geographicum with a greenishyellow thallus is widespread on rocks. It is striking on account of the more or less “map-like” arrangement on the rock surface.

THELOTREMACEAE.—We have a few species of Thelotrema with muriform spores. Surrounding the proper margin of the apothecium is an overarching thalline margin.

LECANACTIDACEAE.—The species of this family, related to the Graphidaceae, have a thin thallus. The proper margin of Lecanactis is quite prominent.

PERTUSARIACEAE.—The apothecia are immersed in thalline warts and the spores are simple. In Perforaria the apothecium has a small pore-like opening; P. cucurbitula is widely distributed and occurs on bark, rock, dead vegetation, moss and soil. We have about forty species of Pertusaria, in which the apothecia have a wide opening.

BUELLIACEAE.—Members of the family superficially resemble Lecideaceae, but the spores are brown and two-celled. We have a number of species of Buellia, mainly on rock. We have also several species of Rinodina, distinguished by the thalline margin to the apothecium.

LECANORACEAE.—A large family, well represented in New Zealand.

1. Spores simple 2
Spores not simple 4
2. Thallus bright yellow Candelariella
Thallus usually greyish sometimes faintly yellowish 3
3. Spores large (Fig. 41) Ochrolechia
Thallus usually greyish, sometimes faintly yellowish 3
Spores small Lecanora
page 20
4. Spores muriform Myxodictyon
Spores elongate, septate Haematomma

CALOPLACACEAE.—Two genera are represented: Blastenia, the apothecia lacking a thalline margin; Caloplaca, the apothecia with a distinct thalline margin. The former is poorly represented, but we have some twenty species of Caloplaca, the small apothecia often light yellow or red.


  • MURIFORM, of spores with cross walls giving an appearance like that of a brick wall.
  • PALMELLA TYPE, of algae with more or less globose cells forming small colonies within a gelatinous sheath.
  • PARAPHYSES, sterile filaments within the hymenium.
  • POLARILOCULAR, of two-celled spores with a thick median wall perforated by a narrow tube.
  • PROTOCOCCUS TYPE, of algae with globular single cells aggregated in loose colonies without an investing sheath.
  • SEPTATE, of spores divided by walls into two or more cells.
  • SIMPLE, of spores without dividing walls and so single-celled.
  • STROMA, specialized portion of thallus in which the perithecia are immersed.
  • TRENTEPOHLIA, filamentous alga with red or orange oil in the cells.
  • VERRUCA, a wartlike protusion of the thallus.
page 21
Legends To Figures The drawings have again been kindly contributed by Miss N. Adams, Botanical Artist to the Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. 40. Haematomma puniceum. 41. Ochrolechia parella. 42. Lecanora dennanensis. 43. Lecanora pachypholis. 44. Megalospora marginiflexa. 45. Graphis tenella. 46. Thelotrema lepadinum. 47. Lecidea dunedina.

Legends To Figures
The drawings have again been kindly contributed by Miss N. Adams, Botanical Artist to the Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
40. Haematomma puniceum.
41. Ochrolechia parella.
42. Lecanora dennanensis.
43. Lecanora pachypholis.
44. Megalospora marginiflexa.
45. Graphis tenella.
46. Thelotrema lepadinum.
47. Lecidea dunedina.