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 Thallus: peltate, often widely scattered, orbicular convex, up to 2 mm diam.; margins: smooth, entire to slightly lobed,; upper surface: dull greenish-olive, brown to black, not sorediate; upper cortex: not developed but with a yellowish epinecral layer; medulla: composed of loosely interwoven hyphae; algal layer: 90-120 µm thick; lower cortex: 24-36 µm thick, 3-5 layers of cells; lower surface: paler than the upper surface, attached by a central umbilicus; Apothecia: 5-20 per squamule, immersed; disc: initially punctiform, later slightly expanded, 0.1-0.2 mm diam.; epihymenium: yellow to yellowish brown, K+ red-violet or K-; hymenium: I+ wine-red or blue; asci: clavate to obclavate, >100-spored; ascospores: ellipsoid to bacilliform, 5-7 x 3 µm; Pycnidia: immersed, spherical; conidia: fusiform, 2.4-3.1 x 1.2 µm; Spot tests: all negative; Secondary metabolites: none detected.; Substrate and ecology: on both acidic and calcareous rocks in deserts and other open, arid habitats; World distribution: SW North America to southern Mexico, Australia, and the Cape Verde Islands; Sonoran distribution: rare in desert areas of Arizona, southern California, Sonora and Baja California Sur.; Notes: Wetmore (1970) reported specimens of P. omphaliza reaching a size of up to 4 mm diameter. However, we have not observed such large specimens of that species. All the material we saw, including the type material, never was larger than 2 mm in diameter. We suspect, therefore, that his circumscription of P. omphaliza included the more recently described P. sonorensis, which can reach or exceed 4 mm in size. Although young thalli of P. sonorensis may easily be mistaken as P. omphaliza based on size alone, P. sonorensis is always a very shiny spcecies and P. omphaliza is quite dull. 


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© Lichen Unlimited: Arizona State University, Tempe.

Source: Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region

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