A Pleasing Peltigera

Freckle Pelt (Peltigera sp.)
Freckle Pelt (Peltigera sp.) one of two possible Freckle Pelts - P. aphthosa or P. britannica.

A lesson in how to identify a Peltigera, learned in retrospect.

When I saw this lichen growing in moss at the base of a rotting stump in Miracle Beach Provincial Park I recognized it immediately. It was a Peltigera, a pelt lichen, and its warty cephalopodia sort of resemble freckles, hence the common name Freckle Pelt. I photographed the lichen, looked at the under surface and mentally noted the dark underside that ended abruptly near the margin where it became white in colour.

Back at the house and searching through my field books I realized that I had missed the key feature that is useful to separate two very similar looking Peltigera, P. aphthosa and P. britannica. The Flaky Freckle Pelt (P. britannica), like the name suggests has cephalopodia that are lobed and easily detached. The Common Freckle Pelt (P. aphthosa) has cephalopodia that do not detach easily. I neglected to check this characteristic and so can’t conclusively say one way or another what Freckle Pelt it is. I can only say that I think that it is a particularly pleasing peltigera even if I can’t put a species name to it. Maybe that’s enough.

On the other hand, I know where to find this lichen and can easily revisit it. I’ll let you know exactly what it is when I do!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might be interested in reading Pixie Cups on the Fence, a lovely introduction to Cladonia over at Wanderin’ Weeta.