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Images of British Lichens

Melanelixia glabratula (Lamy) Sandler Berlin & Arup
(= Melanelixia fuliginosa (Fr. ex Duby) O.Blanco et al. subsp. glabratula (Lamy) J.R.Laundon; Melanelia fuliginosa (Fr. ex Duby) Essl. subsp. glabratula (Lamy) Coppins); Parmelia glabratula (Lamy) Nyl. subsp. glabratula)

Thallus green to warm brown (not always dark brown as in Dobson (2005) key, corrected 2011), shining, older parts with few to abundant cylindrical or branched-coralloid isidia sometimes reaching 0.8mm in height, leaving small white scars when rubbed off, freshly exposed medulla tissue briefly reacting bright pinkish red with sodium hypochlorite (bleach). On deciduous tree bark and fences, rarely rocks, generally common throughout Britain.

Refs: Smith et al. (2009), 572 (as Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula); Purvis et al. (1992), 433 (as Parmelia glabratula subsp. glabratula); Dobson (2005), 262 (as Melanelia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula); Dobson (2011), 268 (photo, as Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula); van Haluwyn et al. (2009), 62-3 (photo, as Melanelixia fuliginosa); Valcárcel et al. (2003), 270-1 (photo, as Parmelia glabratula subsp. glabratula); Wirth (1995), 2: 642, 644, 653 (photo, bright green variant, as P. glabratula); Wirth et al. (2004), 106 (photo, as P. glabratula); Frahm et al. (2010), 115 (photo, as Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula); van Herk & Aptroot (2004, 2013), 244-245 (photo, as Melanelia fuliginosa); Holien & Tønsberg (2008), 54 (photo, as Melanelia fuliginosa); Nordic Lichen Flora (2011) 4: 74, 159 (photo, printed too dark); Hinds & Stenroos et al. (2011) 273 (photo, as Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula); Hinds (2007), 310-311 (photo, as Melanelia fuliginosa); Lichen Atlas of the British Isles 1: 997 (1995) (as Parmelia glabratula subsp. glabratula).

Commonly treated as a subspecies of M. fuliginosa, which is blackish brown, densely isidiate, looking like velvet, and mostly on rocks. However it seems morphologically and ecologically distinct and they are treated as separate species by Arup & Sandler Berlin (2011), Lichenologist 43: 88-97. Closely similar are Melanohalea spp. and other Melanelixia taxa, notably: Melanohalea exasperata and M. exasperatula (neither of which react red with bleach), and Melanelixia subaurifera, the last commonly growing with M. glabratula but often on the smaller twigs, having a rather less shining surface, and very short (about 0.2mm), more or less globose isidia, which leave more conspicuous creamy white or pale yellow scars when rubbed off.

Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula
Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula, close-up of isidia
On Lime (Tilia x europaea), Paisley, Renfrewshire, May 2012, lower photograph showing isidia
Melanelixia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula
Chatelherault, Lanarkshire, March 2008

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Photograph & background graphic © A.J. Silverside
Replacement page uploaded March 2008 (as Melanelia fuliginosa subsp. glabratula), last updated December 2013