Boreal Felt Lichen
The boreal felt lichen is a globally rare lichen. Over 99% of the individuals known in the world occur on the island of Newfoundland.
What is a lichen?
A lichen is actually two species living together in a process called symbiosis. In lichen, an algae or a bacteria provides the means to produce food energy via photosynthesis, while a fungus provides the means for the lichen to attach to a tree, rock or soil. Lichens are a diverse group; there are over 2500 lichen species in Canada.
What is the boreal felt lichen?
Boreal felt lichen, Erioderma pedicallatum is what is called an arboreal (tree-dwelling), foliose (leafy) lichen. It has a white-fringed appearance and a white underside. It is dark-grey to grayish-brown when dry, and blue-grey when moist. It often has conspicuous reddish fruiting bodies, called apothecia which contain spores.
How can I identify the boreal felt lichen?
Boreal felt lichen in Newfoundland are most commonly found on balsam fir trees. The fir is a conifer, usually less than 15 m high, with flat, shiny green needles and erect cones 5-8 cm in length. Fir are common in a variety of habitats. Erioderma is most often found at approximately eye-level, and is usually somewhere between the size of a quarter or a loonie. It is often the darkest lichen on a tree and can sometimes be mistaken for Coccocarpia palmicola, which it often (but not always associated with).
Take a look at a brochure that will help you identify Boreal Felt Lichen.
What do I do if I find boreal felt lichen?
Please do not touch or disturb it! If you can take a picture, and note the location of the tree on which it was found (either with a GPS or by tying on some flagging tape), please log your sighting on this website. We are trying to learn as much as we can about this rare species, including a better understanding of where it occurs in the province.
Newfoundland Lichen Ecology Research Group: http://www.erioderma.com/ ARKive images: http://www.arkive.org/boreal-felt-lichen/erioderma-pedicellatum/description.html
ARKive network: www.arkive.orgKeeping B and C Hanel. 2006. A 5 year (2006-2011) management plan for the boreal felt lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hinds and Hinds 2007. General keys to New England Macrolichens. New York Botanical Garden Press.