Cladonia polydactyla

Cladonia polydactyla. Good specimens differ from Cladonia macilenta in that, as its name suggests, the podetia are forked. That is they have multiple heads which are often pointed. These often carry a small red apothecium, but they may not, and if they don't, it is probably best to look for other examples of the lichen close by. There are many non red fruited species which, if poorly developed can be very confusing. It is a common species occurring on a variety of habitats much as Cladonia macilenta. It resembles Cladonia macilenta in having either coarsely sorediate podetia, or having squamules, especially towards the base. It differs however in being K+ yellow to orange. Unfortunately so is Cladonia squamosa var. subsquamosa so this will not separate infertile examples. The infertile state of Cladonia polydactyla can be virtually impossible to separate fron Cladonia squamosa var. subsquamosa. This photograph was taken at Mills Rocks close to East Ginstead. This species demonstrates how important it is not to assume that all Cladonia material can be identified.

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