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Chemical Strains of the Lichen Parmelia furfuracea

Mason E. Hale, Jr.
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 43, No. 7 (Jul., 1956), pp. 456-459
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2438882
Page Count: 4
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Chemical Strains of the Lichen Parmelia furfuracea
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Abstract

Parmelia furfuracea is a common epiphytic lichen in the conifer-hardwood forests of Europe and North America. The chief morphological characters of the species, development of isidia and growth form of the thallus lobes, are extremely variable and have served to differentiate numerous subspecific taxa. There are three main chemical populations, lecanoric acid in North America, and olivetoric and physodic acids in Europe. Atronorine is a constant component. Although olivetoric acid is very common in specimens from Great Britain, physodic acid predominates in southern Europe and North Africa. While several hypotheses for the present distribution and for the existence of varied chemical strains are discussed, the biological significance of the strains is not yet fully understood. The simplest taxonomic treatment is to call the chemically different plants chemical strains of P. furfuracea rather than distinct species or varieties.

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