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Tuatara: Volume 14, Issue 1, April 1966

The Parmeliaceae of New Zealand and a Key to Indigenous Species of Parmelia

The Parmeliaceae of New Zealand and a Key to Indigenous Species of Parmelia

The Lichen FamilyParmeliaceae is represented in New Zealand by six genera with an approximate total of eighty species. Hypogymnia and Menegazzia, formerly included in Parmelia as subgenera, are today generally accorded full generic rank. They are represented by seven and fourteen named species respectively, but there are several new species of Menagazzia awaiting determination and description. Parmelia has approximately fifty species, Cetraria six, and Anzia and Chondropsis one each.

The status and even the validity of several named Parmeliae may be open to question, as many early descriptions were meagre and inadequate, while much relevant literature, almost all types, and even authentic specimens are not available in the Dominion. These factors make the preparation of an accurate Key very difficult.

The late Dr. James Murray prepared a Key to the commoner New Zealand species of Parmelia in which he included both Hypogymnia and Menegazzia—40 species in all—part of which I have incorporated in the following Key. As this Key is based in part on published descriptions only, inaccuracies may well be present; but the lack of suitable Keys in many genera makes ecological studies in particular exceedingly difficult: and as the completion by Dr. Mason E. Hale of his monograph of the genus Parmelia may be expected to take some considerable time yet, it is felt that circumstances warrant the present Key, always realizing that final determinations cannot safely be made solely from a Key.

page 8

In his ‘Conspectus Systematicus Lichenum Novae Zelandiae’ of 1894 Dr. J. Muller has already eliminated some sixty species erroneously classified as Parmeliae, or attributed to the wrong species of Parmelia. It may be that one or two species retained by me are also synonyms. Several other recorded species have been omitted for lack of detailed information.

Key to the New Zealand Genera*

1. Thallus with rhizines or warts on the lower surface —2
Thallus without rhizines—at least on the free surfaces 3
2. Apothecia marginal. Rhizines scanty Cetraria
Apothecia laminal Parmelia
3. Plants attached to the substrate —4
Plants lying unattached on surface of the soil Chondropsis
4. Plants tomentose and spongy on lower surface Anzia
Plants nude below. Rhizines usually absent —5
5. Thallus lobes perforate above. Spores large(20-100μ) Menegazzia
Thallus lobes not perforate above. Spores small (5-10μ) Hypogymnia

Key to New Zealand Species of Parmelia

(Note: K and C refer to aqueous solutions of caustic potash and calcium hypochlorite respectively, and P to an alcoholic solution of para-phenylene diamine. The + sign implies a colour reaction, y-r indicates a yellow colour turning to red. All reactions refer to the medulla unless otherwise indicated. The use of a lens may be necessary to detect pseudocyphellae.)

1. Rhizines few or many but absent from a wide marginal zone. —2-7
Rhizines or warts present over the whole lower surface —8-39
2. Plants yellowish or stramineous —3
Plants brown, olive, or blackish —4
Plants whitish, ash-coloured, or glaucous-grey —5
3. Lobes broad, rugose or wrinkled, sometimes sorediate, rarely isidiate, not ciliate. Thallus K +,C +. Medulla K -,C -. P + (r) or P -. caperata
Lobes 6-18mm. broad, thick, rigid, sparingly ciliate (cilia 1mm. long), rugulose, confluent and convolute Thallus K + y. C -. Medulla K + r, KC + r pomifera
4. Thallus grey to olive-brown, margins sorediate, pseudocy-phellate, no cilia; lobes rounded and incurved. Corticolous as a rule. C + red, or C -, KC - cetrarioides
Thallus small, dark and diffract at centre, paler and yellower page 9 at margin, closely adnate to rock. Soredia yellow. K + (y - r) mougeotii
5. Margins with long, black cilia. Soredia submarginal to laminal. K -,P -, KC + red arnoldii
Margins with long black cilia. No soredia. Corticolous.
Cortex smooth. nilgherrensis
Marginal cilia few and short (1-1.5mm.), or none —6
6. Older apothecia often perforate at centre, marginal zone below often white. Rocks or Trees. K + (y - r) perforata
Apothecia never perforate —7
7. Plants glaucous-grey, lobes broad, sorediate lobes strongly revolute. Usually corticolous. K + y, C -, KC -. perlata
Plants grey to greenish grey, but Ky - r, KC + y - r. trichotera
Plants somewhat larger. Spores larger with an outer coat (epispore) and a pale yellow inner wall (endospore) latissima
8. Plants dark or olive-brown or blackish —9
Plants otherwise coloured —19
9. Plants with isidia, soredia, or granules —10
Plants not or rarely isidiate or sorediate —12
10. Plants granular towards centre, lobes overlapping at margin, K -.C -,KC - otagensis
Plants centrally isidiate, becoming sorediate. K - —11
11. Lobes 1-3mm. wide glomellifera
Lobes 3-5cm. long by 3mm. wide waiporiensis
12. Lobes filamentous and black. Rhizines few. Subalpine, rocks and trees pubescens
Lobes not filamentous, dorsiventral —13
13. Plants fuscous or blackish, glossy, reticulate rugulose. Thallus K + y. Med. K + red omphalodes
Medulla K -, C - —14
14. Plant saxicolous. Lobes less than 1mm. wide —15
Lobes 2-3mm. wide —16
15. Plants 20-25mm. wide. Lobes .3-.6mm. wide. Closely branched petriseda
Plants 15-20mm. wide. Lobes .2-.3mm. wide. Loosely branched epheboides
16. Plants corticolous, appressed, smooth or minutely corrugate, rarely isidiate olivacea
Plants saxicolous —17
17. Verrucose or corrugate above adpicta
Smooth at least at the periphery —18
18. Glossy olive-brown with small squamules at the centre panniformis
Glossy blackish-brown. Lobes convex, no central squamules. Laciniae narrow. C -, P -. prolixa
19. Plants flavescent. yellowish-green, or stramineous —20
Plants whitish, grey, greenish grey, or glaucous-grey —23page 10
20. Plants sorediose, sinuses circular, K + (y-r). sinuosa
Plants not sorediose —21
21. Plants pale yellow, often isidiate, firmly adnate to acid rocks. Thallus K + f, C +; Medulla K + (y-r), P + (orange) conspersa
(Note: P. tasmanica belongs to the P. conspersa complex, and P. stramineonitens, a plant found on clay banks, also belongs here.)
Plants under 3cm. wide, rhizines few —22
22. Plants yellow, pale or fuscous below, attached to rock. Lobes 2-3mm. wide molliuscula
Plants pale flavescent, 1-2cm. wide, loosely attached to silty soil. Lobes under 1mm. wide sp. nov.
23. Thallus isidiate —24
Thallus not or rarely isidiate —27
24. Upper cortex with white pseudocyphellae —25
Pseudocyphellae absent —26
25. Plants loosely affixed, often ciliate, medulla often exposed at margins. K -, C + red rudecta
Plants differing only in the bottle-like shape of the spermatia subrudecta
26. Cortex ash-grey, reticulately rigid, and with white lines. Isidia brownish-cinerascent. Lacinia sinuate-multifid. Apices retuse. K + (y-r), P + (orange) saxatilis
Cortex longitudinally ridged, yellowish-green, soredia yellow when present, yellow isidia centrally. On rocks or trees. KC + (r), P + (r) rutidota
27. Cortex sorediate —28
Cortex not sorediate —27
28. Thallus pseudocyphellate, margins ciliate —29
Thallus not pseudocyphellate, cilia present or absent —32
29. Soredia laminal or punctiform —30
Soredia marginal or apical —31
30. Glaucous ash-grey above, pale or tan below. Lobes 3-6mm. wide, smooth or wrinkled. Soredia punctiform. K + y, P +; C + red or C -, KC - borreri
Light above, dark below. Surface reticulately cracked. Margins ciliate. Soredia marginal to laminal. K + (y-r), P +, C - reticulata
Greyish or brownish, lobes isidiate, margins and isidia cilate. Soredia laminal. K +, P + crinita
31. Lobes revolute, soredia marginal. K + faintly red. tenuirima
Pale glaucous-grey or whitish, often tuberculose-sorediate at apices. Cilia present or absent. Sinuses wide. Thallus K + y. Medulla K -,C -, or C + (r), KC + orange laevigata
32. Cortex reticulately cracked and rugulose —33
Cortex not so, margins not ciliate —37page 11
33. Soredia marginal or apical. Cilia present or absent. K + (y-r), P + r cetrata
Soredia marginal, in surface cracks, or absent —34
34. Surface wrinkled or furrowed —35
Surface smooth or rugulose —36
35. Pale glaucous or greyish. No isidia or cilia. Soredia in cracks. K + (y-r), C + red. P + (orange) sulcata
Soredia marginal and apical on cucullately revolute lobes.
Sinuses narrow. KC + red. C + (rose) revoluta
36. Cortex smooth, soredia in cracks or absent. K - erimis
Cortex ash-brown or pale-cervine, centre squamulose.
Plants appressed. Soredia punctiform testacea
Plants 2cm. diam., sorediate, no cilia pilosella
37. Upper cortex with sigmoid pseudocyphellae signifera
Plants without pseudocyphellae. —39
38. Milk-white to pale-yellowish-brown, reticulately plicate, appressed. Lobes more or less inflated. Surface with white lines or dark spots. K -, C -, KC + red crambidiocarpa
Whitish grey. Lobes flat. No soredia or isidia. —39
39. Surface smooth. Lobes thickish, rounded, crenate. Thallus K + y. Medulla K -, C + red tiliacea
Similar but receptable of apothecia black setose. carporrhizans
Similar but spores larger, lobes square-ended, 2mm wide K +, C - subtiliacea

I am indebted to Mr. P. James of the British Museum for several determinations).

Omitted from the Key for various reasons are the following reported species:— Parmelia furfuracea, P. limbata, P. linkolae, P. pyracea, P. ruditor, P. schweinfurthii, P. subalbicans P. subconspersa. The New Zealand species of the other genera are listed below.


a. Dispora (2-4 spores in each ascus).

M. aucklandica, M. cincinnata M. circumsorediata, M. dispora, M. foraminulosa, M. nigrescens, M. nothofagi, M. opuntioides (?) and M. pertusa.

b. Octosporae (6-8 spores in each ascus).

M. amabilis, M. dielsii, M. inflata, M. pertransita, M. stirtonii, M. weindorferi.


a. Lobes hollow.

H. enteromorpha, H. lugubris, H. physodes, H. subphysodes, H. turgidula.

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b. Lobes solid.

H. billardieri, H. subteres.


C. corallophora, C. dermatoidea, C. glauca, C. islandica, C. novae-zelandiae, C. sepincola.

Anzia angustata, Chondropsis semiviridis.

* For a glossary of the terms used in these keys see Tuatara 10: 124-128, 1962.