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Evernia mesomorpha

Evernia mesomorpha Nyl.

Evernia thamnodes (Flotow) Arnold

Boreal Oakmoss, Ring Lichen

KingdomFungiMushrooms, lichens, gel fungi, yeasts, and molds; also called eukaryotes
DivisionAscomycotaSac fungi
SubdivisionPezizomycotinaSac fungi with filaments
ClassLecanoromycetes“Lichenized” fungi
OrderLecanoralesMostly lichen-forming fungi
SuborderLecanorineaeLichens
FamilyParmeliaceaeIncludes many common lichens such as Xanthoparamelia, Usnea, Parmotrema, and Hypotrachyna
GenusEvernia
Speciesmesomorpha

About plant names...

Boreal oakmoss is found in coniferous forests in cooler climates. In North America, it is found throughout Canada and in the northern United States.

Identification: This is a fruticose (shrublike) lichen, though its thicker branches remind me a bit of antlers. (Beard lichens and reindeer lichens have thinner branches.) Boreal oakmoss is a pale yellowish green, and the branches are pliable, not brittle. Branches are wrinkled and irregular, more so if tiny reproductive structures called soredia are present.

Edibility: Contains usnic acid, which causes severe dermatitis in some people, and, although this is not confirmed, may cause liver damage if eaten.

Online References:

Evernia mesomorpha on Stephen Sharnoff Photography

Evernia mesomorpha at the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria

Evernia mesomorpha on Canadian Wilderness

Evernia mesomorpha at the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Northeastern Area Lichens Growing on Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) Trees in the Northeast

Evernia mesomorpha on Wikimedia Commons

Evernia mesomorpha on Macrolichens of North America

References:

Walewski, Joe, Lichens of the North Woods, Kollath+Stensaas Publishing, 2007, p. 133

Evernia mesomorpha description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Evernia mesomorpha (Boreal Oakmoss, Ring Lichen)

4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm) ID is uncertain