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Common Name: The Tarpaper Lichens. Stresses the blackish nonstratified medulla that becomes somewhat swollen, translucent and jellylike when moistened.
Minute to occasionally large nonstratified foliose lichens (gelatinous when wet), lacking true cortex, (except cortex present on apothecial margin: see below) isidiate or not, lobes closely appressed to semi-erect, 0.5–10 (–15) mm wide, thin to thick. Upper surface dark olive brownish or blackish (ours), dull. Lower surface dark, rhizines absent or rarely present. Medulla absent. Photobiont blue-green.
Apothecia located over upper surface or marginal, with thalline margin, disc reddish brown; spores 2- to multicelled, ellipsoid to needle-shaped/acicular, (4–) 8 per ascus. Over bark, earth and rock, usually base-rich.
Notes: Collema is a taxonomically difficult genus comprising about 80 species, of which 35 are known to occur in North America and 20 in B.C. Chemistry is of no diagnostic value in this genus. Two keys are provided. The first key emphasizes macroscopic vegetative characters, though spore characters have been incorporated in some places. The second key, to nonisidiate species, stresses spore characters and is more technical.
Lobe margins hairless; isidia, if present, also lacking hairs AND
Thallus foliose or, if somewhat fruticose, then lobes proportionally much shorter and broader; habitat and distribution various AND
Lobes brownish to olive-brownish or blackish, but never jet black above and below; rarely pruinose; habit, substrate and distribution various AND
Isidia absent or, if present, then either essentially globular throughout or becoming cylindrical or branched/coralloid at maturity; scalelike lobules absent (or sparse in some specimens of C. furfuraceum) over upper surface AND
Lobe thickness uniform throughout, lobe tips scarcely (if at all) more swollen than central portions of thallus; upper surface sharply and finely wrinkled or not; central portions of thallus dull (except occasionally shiny in C. nigrescens) AND
Upper surface distinctly isidiate, isidia globular or cylindrical, usually basally constricted AND
Lower surface naked or, if partly hairy, then hairs/hapters occurring in scattered tufts AND
Lobes averaging to more than 5 mm wide; isidia less than 0.15 mm wide; upper surface often more or less blistered/pustulate AND
Upper surface strongly pustulate/ridged, pustules extending more or less throughout; isidia confined mostly to pustules, usually cylindircal
Two varieties occur in B.C.; sterile material, however, cannot be distinguished with certainty at the varietal level. Specimens in which the ridges and pustules are rather indistinct may also be difficult to separate from Collema subflaccidum.
Source: Lichens of British Columbia