LICHENS AND SLIME MOLDS
LICHENS ARE PART FUNGI
Botanists are more likely to know lichens than mushroomers. But there are a few members who know lichens. So you may see them appear on our foray report species lists.
We encourage you to go to the NAMA website and read its Lichen Basics.
We DO NOT Encourage you to collect Lichens. They are extremely slow-growing and even a small one could well be decades old. A good reason NOT to collect them.
In addition many lichens need to be examined under a microscope to identify. The rock-growing ones need a chisel to even think about collecting them. So study them, but leave them be.
- Brodo, I. M., Sharnoff, S. D., ; Sharnoff, S. (2001). Lichens of North America (1st Edition). Yale University Press.
- Fryday, A. M. (2016). Common Lichens of Northeastern North America: A Field GuideCommon Lichens of Northeastern
- Hinds, J. W., & Hinds, P. L. (2007). The Macrolichens of New England (Memoirs of The New York Botanical Garden, Volume 96). The New York Botanical Garden Press.
- Nash. (2008). Lichen Biology (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Lendemer, J. C. (2006). Contributions to the Lichen Flora of New Jersey: A Preliminary Checklist of the Lichens of Wharton State Forest. Opuscula Philolichenum, 3, 21–40.
- Lendemer, J. C., Noell, N., Morse, C. (2018). DelMarva Lichens. Torrey Botanical Society.
- Mark, K., Laanisto, L., Bueno, C. G., Niinemets, Ü., Keller, C., Scheidegger, C. (2020). Contrasting co‐occurrence patterns of photobiont and cystobasidiomycete yeast associated with common epiphytic lichen species. New Phytologist, 227(5), 1362–1375. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16475
- Mukhtar, A., Garty, J., Galun, M. (1994). Does the Lichen Alga Trebouxia Occur Free-Living in Nature: Further Immunological Evidence. Symbiosis, 17, 247–253. http://hdl.handle.net/10222/77407
- Waters, D. P., & Lendemer, J. C. (2019a). A revised checklist of the lichenized, lichenicolous and allied fungi of New Jersey. Bartonia, 70, 1–62.
- Waters, D. P., & Lendemer, J. C. (2019b). The Lichens and Allied Fungi of Mercer County, New Jersey. Opuscula Philolichenum, 18, 17–51.
- “Lichen Identification Workshop for beginners” by Rebecca Yahr, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; British Bryological Society
- “Long Island lichens: an exploration of a hidden world” by Dr. James Lendemer, Institute of Systemic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden
- “Science @ Sugarlands: Lichens of the Smokies, Revealed” by Dr. James Lendemer, Institute of Systemic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden
Slime Molds are not fungi but are often mistaken for them.
Slime Molds - The Jekylls and Hydes of the Mycological World
By Dr. Samuel Ristich, NJMA News 10-5, 1980
Myxomycetes or mycetozoans have perplexed man for millennia because of their "half animal, half plant", existence. All slime molds begin their complex lives as a soft, plasmodial amoeboid stage that can move great distances* through the plasmodial stream. The common leaf slime mold, Fuligo septica, forms sheets 3 feet in diameter. This is a post plasmodial stage between the time the amoeboid stage settles down and the formation of the spore stage. Most people mistake this stage for another species since all myxomycetes vary widely in shape and color during the soft formative "Mr. Hyde" stage.
In these plasmodial stages the slime mold "feeds" upon bacteria and nuttrive substrates such as decayed logs and leaves. Some mechanism eventually "triggers" the transformation of the amoeboid stage to the plant or spore producing stage. Spring and early summer are the best times for observing these fascinating, colorful and intricately patterned animal-plants. The best habitats are decayed, moist logs, decayed leaves and compost heaps. Some of the most common forms are:
- Ceratiomyxa fructiculosa - The white coral slime mold covers many logs with a white bloom. Under the hand lens these blooms appear as white coral horns with spores borne externally on the horns.
- Lycogala epidendrum [ Lyco(s) = wolf; gala = milk; epi = upon; dendrum = wood] = The pink wolf milk slime mold - this slime mold forms small domes of pink ooze which transform into domes (1/8-1/2") with lavender spores. Plasmodium is reddish.
- Fuligo septica - Forms 2" to 2 foot masses of yellowish plasmodial masses on sticks, logs or compost - that eventually spoulate in cushions that have a powdery cream, yellow or red crust - with black spores inside.
- Diachea leucopodia [Leucopoda = white foot] - The "white footed" blue iridescent slime mold. This spectacular "Jekyll" starts as a glossy white plasmodial mass. The glistening white protoplasm elongates into 1/8 inch cylindrical white sporophores that turn salmon pink and finally into a bluish iridescent "jewel" with a thick white stipe. The spores and columella are blackish.
- Acryria denudata - The rosy "carnival candy" slime mold starts as a glistening white mass that eventually separates into upright cylindrical entities on a tiny stalk, containing rosy spores trapped in intricately ornamented threads called capillitia. These threads eventually unfurl into hare net structures resembling whispy carnival candy.
- Cribraria (formerly Dictydium) cancellatum - The "Japanese lantern" slime mold - this slime mold starts life as a purple-black ooze. This ooze elongates into a long 1/4 inch thread like stalk with a globose ribbed structure containing a tiny sphere inside. This delicately structured figurine reminds one of a pendant miniature Japanese lantern.
- Stemonitis fusca - The "chocolate tube" slime mold. It starts out as a white ooze that separates" into thin cylindrical structures with thread-like shiny black stalks that extend the length of the sporosphore. These cylindrical structures contain hair net capillitium and chocolate spores.
- Hemitrichia serpula [Serpule = snakelike] - The "yellow worm" slime mold. This is a plasmodiocarpic form wherein the bright yellow plasmodial strands thicken and fuse to form a network of worm-like sporophore without partitions along the worm-like structure. The plasmodium is yellow as are the capillitia and spores.
- Hemitrichia stipitata-clavata - The "Howard Johnson yellow fuzz cone". These are closely related stipitate species, the former with a sepia-colored thread-like stipe, whereas clavata has a thickened gradually tapering stem. The peridium is glossy egg yellow. When the top "pops off", the bright yellow capillitium and spores are "fluffed out". The plasmodium is yellow for stipitata, white for clavata.
- Tubifera ferruginosa - The "red raspberry" slime mold. The advanced post plasmodial stage of this aggregated slime mold is "red raspberry" in color with each sporophore glued to the next, forming an elliptical or spheroid mass. These "red raspberry" tubes turn bluish purple and glossy brown resembling minature cigars. Spores are chocolate.
- Metatrichia vesparium - (formerly Metyatrichium) "Multigloblet" slime mold. This slime mold forms a "many-headed" globose sporangia on a single reddish stalk. The cluster is bluish-black metallic in color changing to maroon. Each globose sporangia has a preformed "lid" that "pops" to release maroon ornate capillitium and spores. After the capillitium is cast, the empty base resembles numerous goblets. Plasmodium is deep red or black.
- Physarum polycephalum [Polycephalum = many headed] - The multi-head slime mold". This slime mold resembles Metratrichium vesparium in configuration but its stipe is yellow and the many globose sporangia (on a single stalk) are granular black or greenish. The granular material is lime (a diagnostic characteristic for many species of Physarum). When the limy peridium shatters, one can see black spores. the capillitia contain swollen joints composed on lime. The plasmodium is yellow.
- Badhamia affinis - The "bark Badhamia". This sessile, subspherical crusty greyish slime mold is common on moss-covered elm bark of dead or dying elm trees. It is gregarious. When the peridium disintegrates, the white limy capillitium is exposed. Spores are black and the plasmodium creamy white.
- Brefeldia maxima - The "tapioca slime mold". this giant slime mold has a plasmodial mass resembling tapioca. In two days this white tapioca turns pink, then purplish red. After dewatering, the sprorophore begins to take form, turning brown and finally becoming a rugose black mass. The genus was named after Brefeld.
- DiscoverLife - Introduction to Eumycetozoa, or true slime molds.
- PBS Nova 2020 Article - Eight smart things slime molds can do without a brain.
- Slime Mold France Zoo Exhibit - It moves to find food - a myxomycete, a slime mold (Physarum polycephalum), went on display on October 19, 2019 at the Paris Zoological Park.