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Cladonia cristatella

Cladonia cristatella Tuck.

 

British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders

KingdomFungiMushrooms, lichens, gel fungi, yeasts, and molds; also called eukaryotes
DivisionAscomycotaSac fungi
SubdivisionPezizomycotinaSac fungi with filaments
ClassLecanoromycetes“Lichenized” fungi
OrderLecanoralesMostly lichen-forming fungi
SuborderLecanorineaeLichens
FamilyCladoniaceaeReindeer moss, cup lichen, others
GenusCladonia“Cup lichen”
Speciescristatella

About plant names...

British soldier lichen, with its brilliant red caps, is named for the army of British “redcoats” who invaded colonial America. Take a look at this photo, which won Botany Photo of the Day. The red caps create the spores.

Identification: These lichens are fruticose, which simply means that they look like tiny shrubs. They are less than 1" (2.5 cm) high, and are found on disturbed ground (for example, along areas cleared for high tension power lines) or on decaying wood. I often see moss nearby. Lipstick powderhorn (Cladonia macilenta) and red-fruited pixie cups (Cladonia pleurota) also have red tops, the former are tall and narrow and the latter are goblet-shaped.

Online References:

Cladonia cristatella on Stephen Sharnoff Photography

Cladonia cristatella on Tom Volk's Fungi site, at the Department of Biology at the University of Wisconsin

Cladonia cristatella at the Island Creek Elementary School's Study of Northern Virginia Ecology

Cladonia cristatella at the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria

Cladonia cristatella at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden Center for Plant Research

Cladonia cristatella on Wikimedia Commons

References:

Walewski, Joe, Lichens of the North Woods, Kollath+Stensaas Publishing, 2007, p. 44

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

6/8/2012 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 3½ × 3" (8.7 × 7.8 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4 × 3½" (10 × 8.9 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

8/16/2014 · Arethusa Falls, White Mountains, NH
≈ 4½ × 4" (11 × 10 cm)

Cladonia cristatella description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

3/10/1985 · Dunstable, MA

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 2½" (7.4 × 6.6 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4 × 3½" (10 × 9.3 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

5/11/2013 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 3½ × 3½" (8.7 × 8.8 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

10/6/2011 · Pack Monadnock, 2200', Peterborough, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

3/10/1985 · Dunstable, MA

Cladonia cristatella (British Soldiers, Cup Lichen, British Soliders)

9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4 × 4½" (10 × 11 cm)

Range:

About this map...