Lichen spotted for first time in Canada
First time perforated ruffle lichen spotted in Canada at Kejimkujik National Park
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.