IUCN threat status:

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More info for the term: lichens

Reindeer lichens have a generally circumpolar distribution throughout the northern hemisphere [3,84], although published reports limit occurrence of C. stygia to North America.

Cladonia arbuscula is widely distributed in Canada and the northern half of the United States. In western North America, C. arbuscula occurs in Alaska [11,12] and western Canada [54] south to Oregon and west to Idaho, western Montana, Wyoming [83,84], and Colorado [23]. Cladonia arbuscula is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest and rare in the Southwest [84]. In eastern North America, C. arbuscula occurs as far south as the northern Great Lakes states [131,141] and New England [37,47]. Cladonia arbuscula occurs as far east as Labrador [49] and Newfoundland [1]. Although C. arbuscula was reported from North Carolina's coastal plain in 1931 [140], more recent sightings were lacking as of 2008.

Cladonia mitis occurs in Alaska, Canada, and the northern fringe of the United States [18,83,115,125]. In western North America, C. mitis occurs as far south as the southern Willamette Valley [61,84], the northern Cascade Range [38], Idaho, western Montana, and Wyoming [83,84]. Cladonia mitis is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest and rare in the Southwest [84]. In eastern North America, C. mitis occurs in the northern Great Lakes region [64,131,141], New Jersey [115], southeastern New York [37], Labrador [49], Newfoundland [1], Quebec [48,89], and the boreal and arctic vegetation zones in Ontario [3].

Cladonia rangiferina is relatively widespread in the arctic and temperate zones of the United States and Canada [3,23]. There are reports of C. rangiferina near its apparent southern distributional limits of Oregon, Montana [84], Minnesota [64], Wisconsin [131], Michigan [62,141], West Virginia [35], and New Jersey [92].

Cladonia stellaris and C. stygia are widespread in the arctic and boreal regions of North America [3,23]. Cladonia stellaris is rare along maritime coasts [3] but is reported in New Jersey [115], Michigan's Upper Peninsula [141], and Wisconsin [131]. Cladonia stygia is most common at the northern boreal timberline zone. It occupies habitats from Kodiak Island, Alaska, east to Newfoundland and south to Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Idaho, northern Minnesota, the Appalachian Mountains, and western North Carolina [5,141].

There are also reports of reindeer lichens in southwestern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee [52], and on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts [42]. However, species were not identified. As of 2008, distributional maps of reindeer lichens were lacking. NatureServe provides a partial list of states and provinces where reindeer lichens, including the 5 species featured in this summary, occur.


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