Lichen spot­ted for first time in Canada

First time per­fo­rated ruffle lichen spot­ted in Canada at Ke­jimku­jik Na­tional Park

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

A genus of lichen never be­fore seen in Canada has been found at Ke­jimku­jik Na­tional Park by a botanist from Digby.

Digby na­tive Alain Bel­liveau works as a botanist for the At­lantic Canada Con­ser­va­tion Data Cen­tre and trav­els around At­lantic Canada col­lect­ing and record­ing plants and plant sam­ples for the data cen­tre.

It was at the very end of a trip sur­vey­ing 600 to 700 kilo­me­tres of lakeshore along 36 lakes to look for rare and at-risk species in southern Nova Sco­tia – a project that took years to com­plete – that Bel­liveau dis­cov­ered this type of lichen at the top of a tree on a small is­land in the back of the park.

“At first it just seemed like any lit­tle is­land to me, noth­ing very spe­cial,” said Bel­liveau. “But then I looked up and saw some­thing that was def­i­nitely very dif­fer­ent – a genus of lichen I knew I hadn’t seen in Canada be­fore.”

What he saw was a big white clump of white stuff grow­ing on a maple and oak tree that looked pe­cu­liar in­deed.

Af­ter get­ting closer, Bel­liveau no­ticed the white patch was lichen that had hairy edges, large lobes and big brown mush­room-like fea­tures, which are called apothe­cia. He knew right away that this was a rare find.

“If you know lichen, you know that the three main types in Canada are all fairly dis­tinc­tive. This was def­i­nitely some­thing that didn’t fall into any of those cat­e­gories,” he said. “I was pretty pos­i­tive what it was when I saw it last Au­gust, but it wasn’t con­firmed un­til mid fall that it was in­deed per­fo­rated ruf­fled lichen.”

Bel­liveau was cor­rect. He con­tacted Troy McMullin of the Cana­dian Museum of Na­ture to iden­tify the lichen, which he con­firmed was in­deed per­fo­rated ruffle lichen, or Par­motrema per­fo­ra­tum, af­ter in depth chem­i­cal analy­ses.

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