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Lichens, Lichenicolous Fungi and Allied Fungi of Turnipseed WakeNature Preserve, North Carolina, USA. Gary B. Perlmutter University of North Carolina Herbarium ( ncu ), North Carolina Botanical Garden CB# 3280, Coker Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Introduction

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Lichens, Lichenicolous Fungi and Allied Fungi of

Turnipseed WakeNature Preserve, North Carolina, USA

Gary B. Perlmutter

University of North Carolina Herbarium (ncu), North Carolina Botanical Garden

CB# 3280, Coker Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Turnipseed Preserve is 90 hectares of county-owned open space in eastern Wake County in the Outer Piedmont / Fall Line transition zone of east-central North Carolina (Fig. 1). It was recently designated a “WakeNature Preserve” by the local stakeholder group WakeNature Preserves Partnership by exhibiting high quality ecological resources with a written plan for their stewardship. Part of the inventory work that went into the site’s management plan was a lichen survey conducted in 2009-2011.

Figure 2. Acarospora janae K. Knudsen, newly described from specimens collected at Turnipseed in 2009 and Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1927-1929 (Lumbsch et al. 2011).

Figure 3. Granitic boulder outcrops blackened by expansive colonies of the rock-inhabiting fungus Lichenotheliascopularia. This taxon is currently under molecular study.

Results & Discussion

A total of 170 species were identified in 76 genera, representing 37 families (Table 1). The largest families include the Parmeliaceae, Physciaceae, Cladoniaceae, Pertusariaceae, and Graphidaceae, in descending order. The remaining 32 families each contain less than 5% of the biota.

The lichen biota was 56% corticolous (96 taxa), 29% saxicolous (50 taxa), 11% lignicolous (19 taxa), 9% terricolous (16 taxa), 4% muscicolous (6 taxa) and 1% lichenicolous (2 species); 15 species were found on multiple substrate types. By habit, the biota is 55% crustose (93 taxa), 27% foliose (45 taxa) and 18% fruticose (31 taxa).

Twelve new state records were found, including Acarospora janae (Fig. 2), new to science, and members of the family Lichenotheliaceae represented by lichenicolous and rock-inhabiting fungi (Fig. 3).

Lichens were found throughout the preserve, in all habitats except open fields (Table 2). Mixed forests had the highest lichen diversities of any forest type, likely owing to forest stand variability in age and tree composition, plus a relatively robust floor component.

Six pollution-tolerant (Candelariaconcolor, Flavoparmelia baltimorensis, F. caperata, Physciamillegrana, Punctelia rudecta and Pyxinesubcinerea) and ten pollution-sensitive (Coccocarpiapalmicola, Collema subflaccidum, Leptogium austroamericanum, L. cyanescens, Nephromahelveticum, Ramalina culbersoniorum, R. americanums. lat., Usnea mutabilis, U. pensylvanica, U. strigosa, U. scabrosa) macrolichens were found with the tolerant species in more exposed habitats and the sensitive ones in shaded forests. Peltigera was notably absent. These findings suggest a moderate impact of ambient air pollution from local farms, roads and cities, yet support the notion that forests act as air scrubbers as wetlands do for water quality.


Turnipseed Preserve is found to have a rich lichen biota, which is likely attributed to the site’s diverse habitats with rocky abundance in a transitional ecoregion as well as an intensive sampling effort.

Figure. 1. Map of Turnipseed Preserve, Wake County, North Carolina depicting preselected lichen sample sites (yellow dots).

Literature cited

Lumbsch, H.T. et al. 2011. One hundred new species of lichenized fungi: a signature of undiscovered global diversity. Phytotaxa 18: 1-127.

Methods & Materials

Turnipseed was surveyed of its lichens through multiple visits to preselected sites, focusing on specific terrestrial habitats: forest edge of a powerline corridor, floodplain forests, mixed pine-hardwood forest, pine-regenerating stands, granitic flatrocks, granitic boulder clusters / outcrops, and open fields (Fig. 1). At each site all lichen taxa encountered were recorded with 475 vouchers collected. Specimens were deposited at NCU and determined using standard laboratory techniques. The more difficult specimens were sent to outside experts for determination / further study.

Data were analyzed by habitat type and subtype. To assess environmental health, documented pollution-sensitive and pollution-tolerant species were tallied and compared to other floras.


I wish to thank Nathaniel Osborne and members of WakeNature for inviting me to inventory Turnipseed Preserve; lichenologists at BM, GZU, HBG, MSC, NY and UCR for determining specimens; and the NCU curatorial staff for allowing space and equipment for identifying and curating specimens. Fieldwork was conducted under a permit by the Wake County Dept. Parks, Rec. and Open Space.

For further information

Please contact Information on WakeNature and its efforts can be found on their website:


Prepared for the 2011 American Bryological and Lichenological Society Annual Meeting, Roan Mountain State Park, Tennessee, June 20-24, 2011.