The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 28, 2003


Pin lichen

Violet-toothed polypore growing on a rotted birch. A dime is shown in the lower right corner to indicate the scale.

Pin lichen growing on the Violet-toothed polypore.

Name: Phaeocalicium polyporeum, an example of a pin lichen or stubble lichen. Phaeo means black or dark, and calicium is a lichen genus.

Not a typical lichen: The taxonomy for this lichen is problematical. A lichen is a symbiotic combination of a fungus with a photosynthesizing agent (a photobiont), usually an alga. The photobiont produces food for the fungus from CO

When and where found: This specimen was found in the Conant Land on March 7. It grows on the violet-toothed polypore fungus, a very common fungus found on hardwoods, especially birch, throughout the area. At this time of year the violet-toothed polypore (Trichaptum biforme) is not looking its best, having lost its characteristic purple color on the top edge and underside, and taken on a greenish color due to colonization by algae. The violet-toothed polypore is easy to spot from a distance; it forms a colony of dozens of overlapping shelves where each shelf is one to two inches wide. The tiny pin lichens growing on the top side can be seen without a magnifying glass.

Description: Tiny black matchstick-shaped structures that grow in rows or group. Each one is about a sixteenth of an inch tall.

Sources: Brodo, Sharnoff & Sharnoff, Lichens of North America; Bessette, Bessette & Fischer, Mushrooms of Northeastern North America.

Submissions: Anyone can write the Biodiversity Corner. The topic can be any critter, plant, or fungus found in Carlisle in the wild. Tell its story in 600 words or less and send it to Kay Fairweather, 392 School Street or to

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito