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Tuatara: Volume 10, Issue 3, September 1962

Keys to New Zealand Lichens — Part I

page 120

Keys to New Zealand Lichens
Part I

Dr James Murray was a senior lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Otago who began to study New Zealand lichens as a source of organic compounds and thus became deeply interested in their faxonomy. At the time of his death in a car accident, in June, 1961, he was thirty-eight years of age and was publishing a series of papers entitled ‘Studies on New Zealand Lichens’ (Trans. Roy. Soc. N.Z., vol. 88). He left several manuscripts which were substantially complete and these are now being printed, though they lack the final revision intended by their author.

This key is one of James Murray's posthumous papers. It is much more comprehensive than our earlier keys by Allan (Tuatara II, 15-21, 1949; IV, 59-62, 1951), but the author still regarded it as tentative and uneven in quality, and had doubts about certain sections which we have not, of course, attempted to resolve. We are grateful to Dr. G. A. M. Scott, of the Botany Department, University of Otago, for carefully checking typescript and proofs and for completing and illustrating the glossary. Dr. Scott's additions are marked with an asterisk and his doubts by “(probably)’.

Mrs. Murray has generously presented his large lichen herbarium, his valuable reprint collection and all his manuscripts, including the original draft of this key, to the University of Otago.

The keys to families and genera are based largely on the system used by Zahlbruckner in Engler and Prantl Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilicn, Vol. 8 (1926), and in Catalogus lichenum universalis, Vol. I-X (1922-40).

Although the lichen genera are mostly clearly defined, the families are often an unsatisfactory assemblage of genera and I have taken many of them in a sense different from that of Zahlbruckner. The key to genera has been constructed to include, as far as possible, sterile material. It was impossible to do this with the key to families.

Key to Families

Principal differences from Zahlbruckner (1926): Pyrenotham niaceae, Phyllopsoraceae. Byssolomaceae, Coenogoniaceae and Trypetheliaceae are eliminated as families. Roccellaceae is omitted from the New Zealand list with the transfer of Sagendium to the Lecanactidaceae. Opegraphidaceae, Stereocaulaceae, Clathrinaceae, Placynthiaceae and Candelariaceae are here regarded as autonomous families.

1 Fruit a pyrenocarp. series Pyrenocarpeae 4
Fruit an apothecium. —2
page 121
2 Spores released early from asci and forming a mazedium. series Coniocarpineae 10
Spores released from asci when ripe. —3
3 Apothecia distinctly elongated or irregular; thallus crustose. series Graphidineae 12
Apothecia round or only casually irregular. series Angiocarpineae 15
4 Thallus foliose or squamulose, heteromerous except in Normandina. 5
Thallus crustose or subplacodioid. 7
5 Algae green; foliose or squamulose. Dermatocarpaceae
Algae blue-green. 6
6 Thin-foliose, of Prasiola sheets, 1 cell thick. Mastodiaceae
Algae yellow-green.? Polycoccus. of normal thickness. Pyrenidiaceae
7 Algae green; spores simple or septate; plants normally on rock. Verrucariaceae
Algae trentepohlioid or Heterothallus; plants normally corticolous. 8
8 Spores simple, large. Coccotrema (Pyrenulaceae)
Spores septate. 9
9 Spore cells lenticular, thick-walled; ascolocular. Pyrenulaceae
Spore cells cubic, thin-walled; ascohymenial. Strigulaceae
10 Thallus fruticose or foliose. Sphaerophoraceae
Thallus crustose, with or without raised fruits. 11
11 Apothecia distinctly stalked. Caliciaceae
Apothecia sessile, not stalked. Cypheliaceae
12 Apothecia immarginate, adnate, ascolocular. Arthoniaceae
Apothecia with excipulum, at least at sides. 13
13 Thallus with distinct cortex; spores septate; on rock. Dirinaceae
Thallus ecorticate. 14
14 Spore cells lenticular or simple; ascolocular. Opegraphidaceae
Spore cells cubic; ascohymenial. Graphidaceae
15 Thallus, or apothecial disc, orange-red or yellow and turning crimson-purple with KOH; or bright yellow and K-, with simple or pseudoseptate spores. 16
Thallus and apothecia not thus or, if K+, spores not polarilocular. 18
page 122
16 Thallus K+ crimson-purple; spores hyaline, simple or polaribilocular. 17
Thallus K- although yellow colour dissolves (pulvinic acid). Candelariaceae
17 Thallus fruticose or small foliose, corticate. Teloschistaceae
Thallus crustose, or if placodioid or subfruticose, ecorticate. Caloplacaceae
18 Thallus distinctly foliose. squamulose, or fruticose, or with podetia. 19
Thallus crustose. effuse to placodioid, or byssoid of single algal strands. 39
19 Plant with true podetia. usually secondarily clothed by alga and cortex; thallus crustose or squamulose or wanting. Cladoniaceae
Plant foliose, fruticose, or with pseudopodetia. 20
20 Thallus fruticose, symmetric or flattened, or with pseudo-podetia. 21
Thallus foliose or squamulose or of cerebriform lobes. 28
21 Thallus with pseudopodetia, i.e. formed by growth of medulla only. 22
Thallus fruticose. i.e. formed by extension of all parts. 23
22 Spores 3- to many-septate, or muriform. Stereocaulaceae
Spores 1- to 3-septate; plant very small, yellowish. Toninia (Lecideaceae)
23 Algae blue-green; plant blue or dark. 24
Algae green or trentepohlioid. 26
24 Plant formed by single or double strand of alga (Scytonema or Stigonema) with investing hyphae. Ephebaceae
Form of plant governed by fungal component. 25
25 Algae Nostoc; plant sterile. Dendriscocaulon (Collemaceae)
Algae of Rivularia type. Lichinaceae
Algae scytonemoid; outer parts of clump squamulose. Parmeliella mammillata
26 Normally outer parts of clump dorsiventral, squamulose or with initial thallus crustose. 44
Plant arising from single holdfast, all fruticose. 27
27 Apothecia minute, black; spores simple; on soil. Clathrinaceae
Apothecia over 0.5 mm. diameter (or absent); spores simple or 1-septate; rarely on soil. Usneaceae
Spores 1-3-septate. Toninia
page 123
28 Apothecia sessile, large, on upper or lower surface, immarginate; spores septate. Peltigeraceae
Not so. 29
29 Algae Xanthocapsa. “Pyrenopsidaceae’
Algae otherwise. 30
30 Thallus with longitudinally radiate lines of Scytonema; spores sepores. Placynthiaceae
Algae irregularly arranged. 31
31 Thallus attached by ± central umbilicus. 32
Thallus attached by lateral stalk or rhizines. 33
32 Algae Scytonema; spores many. Heppiaceae
Algae trebouxioid; spores 8 or less; alpine. Umbilicariaceae
33 Thallus rather dark, thin, homoeomerous, gelatinous when wet. Collemaceae
Thallus dark or light, heteromerous or all cellular, not gelatinous. 34
34 Spores simple, hyaline, rarely some 1-septate. 35
Spores septate, brown or hyaline. 38
35 Spores with thickish rough wall or, if thin, cortex of clearly marked plectenchyma above, ectorticate below; algae bluegreen or green. Pannariaceae
Spores with thin smooth wall and fibrous or decomposed type of cortex or small-celled plectenchyma and corticate on both surfaces; algae green. 36
36 Medium to large foliose; corticate on both sides. Parmeliaceae Squamulose or small foliose; usually ecorticate below. 37
37 Apothecia lecideine. Psora (Lecideaceae)
Apothecia lecanorine. Lecanora (Placodium) (Lecanoraceae)
38 Distinctly foliose, medium to large; spores rarely polari-locular; algae green or blue-green. Stictaceae
Small foliose or ± placodioid; spores brown, polarilocular; algae green. Physciaceae
39 Apothecia with dark excipulum and over-arching thalline margin; spores septate. 40
Apothecia without over-arching thalline margin, or if so, excipulum pale or absent. 41
40 Algae trentepohlioid; plants normally on bark. Thelotremaceae
Algae green, trebouxioid; plants on rock or soil. Diploschistaceae
41 Asci poly (more than 30) -spored. Acarosporaceae
Asci not over 16-spored. 42
page 124
42 Algae trentepohlioid; spores septate; thallus may be byssoid. 43
Algae green, or if trentepohlioid, spores simple. 44
43 Ascolocular; apothecia dark. Lecanactidaceae
Ascohymenial: apothecia yellowish to flesh-coloured. Gyalectaceae
44 Apothecia 1-many, in thalline warts; spores large, thick-walled, simple: excipulum absent, hypothecium thin. Pertusariaceae
Apothecia not in thalline warts. When spores are large and simple they may be thick- or thin-walled and hypothecial structure is subtended below. 45
45 Spores brown. 1-septate. paraphyses simple. spores not halonate. Buelliaceae
Spores otherwise, or if as above, thallus I+blue. 46
46 Apothecia with proper exciplum only. Lecideaceae
Apothecia with thalline margin. Lecanoraceae


  • *acicular—needle-shaped

  • adnate (of apothecium)—see fig. 1. c.f. sessile and innate

  • algal layer—see fig. 11

  • *angiocarpous—belonging to the Angiocarpineae (see Key to Families)

  • apothecium—open fruit (see figs. 1 to 3)

  • arachnoid—of loose, net-like structure

  • *areolate (of thallus)—divided into small areas usually separated by cracks

  • *ascocarp—the fruiting body of an Ascolichen (i.e. of all the genera included in these keys)

  • ascohymenial—with the asci arising, along with paraphyses, from an ascogenous layer (hypothecium). Asci usually ± clavate (see fig. 6)

  • ascolocular—with the asci arranged at different levels, arising from a base of paraphysoid filaments (q.v.); true ascogenous layer absent and no true paraphyses. Usually asci are pyriform and spores thin-walled (see fig. 4)

  • *ascus—the elongate membranous sac enclosing the spores

  • *aspicilioid (of apothecium)—lecanorine, but innate at least when young (probably)

page 125
Plate 1 1. Adnate apothecium (L.S.). 2. Innate or immersed apothecium (L.S.). 3. Sessile apothecium (L.S.). 4. Portion of ascolocular fruit (L.S.) with asci borne on paraphysoid filaments. 5. Lenticular spore. 6. Portion of ascohymenial fruit (L.S.) with asci and paraphyses borne on hypothecium. 7. Muriform spore. 8. Placodioid thallus. 9. Polarilocular spore. 10. Podetium (L.S.). 11. Thallus (L.S.) showing a. cortex, b. algal layer, c. medulla, and d. hypothallus. 12. Pseudopodetium (L.S.). 13. L.S. lower surface of thallus showing cyphella. 14. Perithecium (L.S.) showing e. involucrellum. 15. L.S. lower surface of thallus showing pseudocyphella. 16. Lecideine apothecium (L.S.). 17. Lecanotine apothecium (L.S.).

Plate 1
1. Adnate apothecium (L.S.). 2. Innate or immersed apothecium (L.S.). 3. Sessile apothecium (L.S.). 4. Portion of ascolocular fruit (L.S.) with asci borne on paraphysoid filaments. 5. Lenticular spore. 6. Portion of ascohymenial fruit (L.S.) with asci and paraphyses borne on hypothecium. 7. Muriform spore. 8. Placodioid thallus. 9. Polarilocular spore. 10. Podetium (L.S.). 11. Thallus (L.S.) showing a. cortex, b. algal layer, c. medulla, and d. hypothallus. 12. Pseudopodetium (L.S.). 13. L.S. lower surface of thallus showing cyphella. 14. Perithecium (L.S.) showing e. involucrellum. 15. L.S. lower surface of thallus showing pseudocyphella. 16. Lecideine apothecium (L.S.). 17. Lecanotine apothecium (L.S.).

page 126
  • biatorine (of apothecium)—lecideine, waxy not carbonaceous apothecium; excipulum pale

  • byssoid—composed of a loose mat of hyphae like felt or cotton wool

  • *C±—giving or not giving colour reaction with calcium hypochlorite solution

  • *carbonaceous—black and brittle

  • *cephalodium—variously shaped excrescence of the surface of the thallus usually containing blue-green algae often of a different sort to that throughout the thallus. Usually dark.

  • *cerebriform—shaped and involuted like a brain

  • chrondroid—of ± conglutinate. horny, close packed, very thick-walled hyphae

  • *clavate—club-shaped

  • *cochleate—spirally twisted like a shell

  • *conglutinate—gelatinous and more or less fused

  • cortex—see fig. 11.

  • *corticate—possessing a cortex (opp. ecorticate)

  • corticolous—growing on bark

  • *crateriform—elevated like the rim of a volcanic crater

  • *crustose—thallus forming a crust closely adhering to and usually partly incorporated into the substratum

  • cyphella—a break in the cortex exposing the medulla, but corticate (see fig. 13)

  • *decomposed (of cortex)—composed of gelatinous and there fore indistinct hyphae

  • determinate—crustose, but of more or less radiately lobed circumference

  • *ecorticate—see corticate

  • *effigurate (of thallus)—having a distinct form

  • effuse (of thallus)—crustose, without clearly defined margin (opp. determinate)

  • *endobasidial fulcrum—branched, spore-producing, hyphae within a pycnidium where all cells of the hyphae (fulcra) can produce spores

  • epithecium—more or less coloured or granular layer formed by the tips of paraphyses (= epithecial layer)

  • *erhizinose—lack rhizinae (q.v.)

  • *esorediate—lacking soredia (q.v.)

  • *espinulose—lacking spines

  • * excipulum-= proper margin (q.v.)

  • *exobasidial fulcrum—branched, spore-producing, hyphae within a pycnidium where the spores are produced only at the tips of the hyphae (fulcra)

page 127
  • *fibrous (of cortex)—composed of filaments lying parallel to the thallus surface

  • *foliicolous—epiphytic on leaves

  • *foliose—thallus leaf-like (c.f. fruticose and squamulose)

  • *fovea—a pit

  • *fruticose—an erect or pendulous, “shrubby’ growth form with relatively narrow branches, organised radially internally

  • *fusiform (of spores)—narrowed at both ends

  • *gyrae—circularly arranged folds or furrows (adj. gyrose)

  • *halonate (of spores)—with a thin outer covering or epispore

  • heteromerous—structure of thallus differentiated into medulla and algal layer (opp. homoeomerous)

  • homoeomerous—see heteromerous

  • *hyaline—transparent and colourless

  • hypothallus—basal layer of lichen thallus, composed of fungal filaments only (see fig. 11)

  • *hypothecium—see ascohymenial

  • *I±—giving or not giving a blue or red colouration with aqueous iodine solution (usually on medulla)

  • *immarginate—lacking a margin

  • innate (of apothecium)—sunk in the thallus (see fig. 2) (also = immersed)

  • *involucrellum—a thickened outer wall of a perithecium; sometimes confined to the apical portion, and usually brown or black (see fig. 14)

  • isidium—small coral-like outgrowth of the upper surface of the thallus (adj. isidiose)

  • *K±—giving or not giving a colour reaction (usually red, yellow, or violet) with KOH solution

  • lecanorine (of apothecium)—margin contains algae; cortex continuous with that of the thallus; some medulla usually present in margin (see fig. 17)

  • lecideine (of apthoecium)—with excipulum only, no algae (see fig. 16)

  • lenticular (of spores)—see fig. 5

  • *lentiform—lens shaped

  • *lobulate—divided into, or provided with, small lobes

  • mazedium (or mazaedium)—loose powdery more or less coherent mass of spores formed by early disappearance of ascus walls

  • medulla—see fig. 11

  • muriform (of spores)—with longitudinal as well as transverse septa (see fig. 7)

  • paraphyses (in ascocarp)—sterile, usually septate, simple or sparsely branched filaments all rising to the same level, often expanded at the ends

page 128
  • paraphysoid filament—branched anastomosing hyphae forming hymenium of ascolocular lichens (q.v.); ends not thickened, and ending at different levels. Sometimes hardly differentiated from thallus hyphae

  • perithecium—fruit enclosed by fungal tissue, opening by pore (see fig. 14)

  • *pertusarioid (of apothecia)—embedded in warts on the thallus, as in Pertusaria (probably)

  • placodioid—crustose but of more or less radiately lobed circumference (see fig. 8)

  • plectenchyma—cellular structure formed by fusion of thin-walled hyphae (= pseudoplectenchyma)

  • *podetiiform—having an erect, podetium-like structure

  • podetium—an erect structure formed by extension of hypothecium (see fig. 10)

  • polarilocular (of spores)—cells joined by canal (see fig. 9), (also polaribilocular)

  • *proper margin—a rim round the apothecium, similar in colour and texture to the disc, and composed of fungal hyphae only (see lecideine and fig. 16)

  • prosoplectenchyma—as plectenchyma but cell walls fairly thick and lumen irregular

  • pseudocyphella—a break in the cortex exposing the medulla, but having no corticate rim (c.f. cyphella and see fig. 15)

  • pseudopodetium—structure formed by medulla or algal layer and cortex (see fig. 12)

  • *pseudoseptate—± equivalent to polarilocular (q.v.)

  • *punctiform—the size and shape of a full-stop (.)

  • *pycnidium—rounded tubercle on thallus containing minute “spores’

  • *pyrenocarp—a perithecium (q.v.)

  • *pyriform—pear-shaped

  • *rhizine (rhizina)—a root-like strand from the under surface of the thallus (pl. rhizines, rhizinae)

  • *rimose (of thallus)—divided by clefts into areolae

  • sessile (of apothecium)—see fig. 3

  • soralium—an individual area of soredia (q.v.)

  • soredia—granular or powdery masses of algae and fungi (adj. sorediate)

  • squamulose—thallus of small squamules, appressed or raised, and usually without lower cortex

  • *stroma—a special receptacle sunk in the thallus

  • *thalline margin—a rim round the apothecium similar in construction to the thallus, continuous with it and including algal cells (see lecanorine and fig. 17)

(To be continued)

* Additions by G. A. M. Scott.