Lichen: Blarneya hibernica
Name: Blarneya hibernica D.Hawksw., Coppins & P.James (1980)
Conservation Evaluation: Near Threatened, Nationally Rare, International Responsibility
Body Type: Crustose
Description: The cotton-like soft thallus is pinkish white with a green tinge. Sometimes sprinkled with crystals. The edges show tiny filamentous threads giving it a diffuse perimeter. Both apothecia and perithecia are absent. The small pale yellow convex powdery structures that look superficially like soralia (C-) are in fact sporodochia (C+) that produce reproductive spores (conidia).
Chemical Tests: C+/- red (fleeting), K-, KC+/- red, Pd-, UV+ powdery bloom
Nature Notes: Typically found growing in old woodlands near the base of sheltered and dry oak and holly. On inspection with a hand lens, particularly near the edge of the thallus, the cotton-like effect can be seen to be due to a matt of hyphae. These grow over already established lichens such as Enterographa crassa or Lecanactis abietina taking over the photobiont (a Trentepohlia algae in this case). Eventually the host dies and Blarneya hibernica establishes itself as an independent living lichen.
Vice county distribution map: See map
Link: Map this species on the Lichen Survey
Other species recorded in Ireland:
No other Blarneya species recorded. It is the only known species in this group.
Text and images © Paul Whelan, 2009.