categoryZLichens Lichens List 

PIXIE CUPS (LICHEN)

Cladonia pyxidata

Cladonia Family [Cladoniaceae]  

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category8Lichens
 

4th Sept 2009, Nr Hanging Gate, Wildboarclough, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Shaped like Shreks' Ears or miniature golf-tees (podetia), albeit somewhat battered and sand-blasted ones. The sprinkling of light-grey-green pixie dust (squamules) between them is part of the lichen.


4th Sept 2009, Nr Hanging Gate, Wildboarclough, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
They have a light-grey-green and pinkish hue, somewhat reminiscent of a poor B&W 3D photograph as seen through red/green spectacles.


4th Sept 2009, Nr Hanging Gate, Wildboarclough, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
They have an extremely rough appearance as if covered in grey/green sand-grains (granular soredia). The rim of the cup has more reddish grains (apothecia). The stem has greyish/green scales, becoming larger the further down the (narrowing) stem. The 'undergrowth' is a mass of these flattish scales.


4th Sept 2009, Nr Hanging Gate, Wildboarclough, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The rim tends to spurt projections (apothecia)skywards. It grows in dampish darkish conditions amongst mosses, of which an example can be seen bottom left.


4th Sept 2009, Nr Hanging Gate, Wildboarclough, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The reddish granular projections on the rim and the pinky/greeny hue of the cup are readily seen. The scales on the stem lack any hint of redness.


4th Sept 2009, Nr Hanging Gate, Wildboarclough, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The scales (or squamules) on the lower stem merge into the general 'undergrowth' between the Pixie Cups.


Often confused with: Cladonia Chlorophaea which looks very similar.

Some similarities to : Other members of the Cladonia Family, some of which are also shaped like golf-tees, such as Cladonia Fimbriata, Cladonia cervicornis (but that has a brownish tinge and a tiered structure with a smaller golf-tee within a golf-tee within another golf-tee, etc), Cladonia Pocillum (distinguished by the smooth brownish areas at some of the tips) and Cladonia Coccifera. These others, however, are generally much smoother, and some have scarlet-red cups and rims, such as Cladonia Cristatella.

A foliose squamulose lichen which favours acid soils with a high moisture and humus content such as roadside banks and heathland. Also fence posts. Grows up to 3cm tall. The cups are deep. Small squamules cover both the inside and outside of the cup (podetia)

Pixie Cups and other Cladonia species contain Didymic Acid which was once collected from the lichen and used in folk-lore medicine to treat tuberculosis, but it is not known how effective this was.

It also contains Fumarprotocetraric Acid, another lichen ccid.


  Cladonia pyxidata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Cladoniaceae  

PIXIE CUPS (LICHEN)

Cladonia pyxidata

Cladonia Family [Cladoniaceae]  

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