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The lichen genus polychidium new to South Korea.
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PMID:  23323050     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
The lichen species Polychidium muscicola was found in South Korea for the first time and this is the first record of the genus Polychidium from the Korean peninsula. This species is characterized by a dichotomously branched minute thallus with clustered cells of Nostoc as the photobiont. A detailed description and illustrations of this species are provided.
Udeni Jayalal; André Aptroot; Jae-Seoun Hur
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Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2012-12-26
Journal Detail:
Title:  Mycobiology     Volume:  40     ISSN:  1229-8093     ISO Abbreviation:  Mycobiology     Publication Date:  2012 Dec 
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Created Date:  2013-01-16     Completed Date:  2013-01-17     Revised Date:  2013-05-30    
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Nlm Unique ID:  100960027     Medline TA:  Mycobiology     Country:  Korea (South)    
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Languages:  eng     Pagination:  252-4     Citation Subset:  -    
Korean Lichen Research Institute, Sunchon National University, Suncheon 540-742, Korea.
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Journal ID (nlm-ta): Mycobiology
Journal ID (iso-abbrev): Mycobiology
Journal ID (publisher-id): MB
ISSN: 1229-8093
ISSN: 2092-9323
Publisher: The Korean Society of Mycology
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© The Korean Society of Mycology
Received Day: 21 Month: 9 Year: 2012
Revision Received Day: 10 Month: 10 Year: 2012
Accepted Day: 22 Month: 10 Year: 2012
Print publication date: Month: 12 Year: 2012
Electronic publication date: Day: 26 Month: 12 Year: 2012
Volume: 40 Issue: 4
First Page: 252 Last Page: 254
PubMed Id: 23323050
ID: 3538972
DOI: 10.5941/MYCO.2012.40.4.252

The Lichen Genus Polychidium New to South Korea
Udeni Jayalal1
André Aptroot2
Jae-Seoun Hur1
1Korean Lichen Research Institute, Sunchon National University, Suncheon 540-742, Korea.
2ABL Herbarium, Gerrit van der Veenstraat 107, NL-3762 XK Soest, The Netherlands.
Correspondence: Corresponding author (

According to the recent lichen checklist published by Hur et al. [1], nine fruticose lichen genera have been reported from South Korea, Bryoria Brodo & D. Hawksw., Cladina (Nyl.) Nyl., Cladonia P. Browne, Oropogon Th. Fr., Pilophorus Th. Fr., Ramalina Ach., Stereocaulon Hoffm., Sulcaria Bystrek and Usnea Dill. ex Adans. The current study revealed a new, rare fruticose cyanobacterial lichen genus Polychidium (Ach.) Gray for the South Korean lichen flora.

The genus Polychidium includes 15 species worldwide [2]. However, the number of species recorded has varied among studies [3-5], and no recent revisionary work of the genus has been conducted. Recently, four species belonging to the genus Polychidium [6, 7] together with Leptochidium M. Choisy and Massalongia Körb. were transferred to a new family, Massalongiaceae Wedin, P. M. Jørgensen & E. Wiklund based on the parsimony and Bayesian analysis of the mitochondrial small subunit (mtSSU) and nuclear large ribosomal subunit (nuLSU) rDNA sequence [8].

The genus Polychidium includes the following characteristic features. Thallus very small and non-stratified, dichotomously, evenly or isotomically branched, fruticose, shrub like, attached to substrate by a basal holdfast. Upper surface or thallus is greyish to brownish or brownish black in color and round in cross-section, very slender, shiny, gelatinous, brittle and solid, corticate. Cortex well developed, cellular, one to several layers thick, surrounding a medullary hyphae. Within the cortex, cyanobacteria (Nostoc or Scytonema) form the core of the branch. Isidia, soredia and pseudocyphellae absent. Ascomata apothecia, biatorine, mostly lateral, disc pale to dark brown and sunken, very common on some species and rare on others. Thalline exciple absent, true exciple present, paraphyses unbranched, septate. Spores 1 or 2 celled, colorless, ellipsoid to spindle shaped, fusiform, thin or thick walled, eight per ascus. Conidiomata pycnidia, bacilliform conidia. No lichen substances on thin layer chromatography (TLC). Cosmopolitan genus, but generally at higher elevations in tropical regions [9-12].

In the East Asian region, Polychidium species have been recorded from four countries, China (P. dendriscum) [7], Japan (P. muscicola) [13], Taiwan (P. stipitatum) [14], and Papua New Guinea (P. dendriscum, P. muscicola and P. stipitatum) [15]. According to Jørgensen [16], P. muscicola is considered as a red listed species since it to be endangered in particular habitat. This is the first record of the genus Polychidium from South Korea. This genus representing species P. muscicola was found on a moss together with a thallus of Myelochroa irrugans. Here, the thallus is described in full and figures and taxonomic details pertaining to P. muscicola are presented.

This study was based on the voucher specimen deposited in the herbarium of the Lichen and Allied Bioresource Center at the Korean Lichen Research Institute (KoLRI), Sunchon National University, South Korea. The external morphology of the thallus was observed under a dissecting microscope (Nikon SMZ645; Nikon, Tokyo, Japan) and photographs were taken using a Hi-SCOPE HC-100A camera. A compound microscope (Zeiss Scope. A1; Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Deutshland, Germany) was used to study the anatomy of the thalli and photographs were taken using an AxioCam ERc 5s camera (Carl Zeiss) fitted to the light microscope. All measurements were made from materials mounted in water and stained with lactophenol cotton blue. Spot test reactions were carried out on the thallus and TLC was performed in solvent system C (toluene : acetic acid = 85 : 15) as described by Orange et al. [17].

Polychidium muscicola (Sw.) Gray, Nat. Arr. Brit. Pl. (Lond.) 1: 402 (1821)

  • Collema muscicola (Sw.) Ach., Lich. Univ.: 1-696 (1810).
  • Cornicularia muscicola (Sw.) DC., in Lamarck & de Candolle, Fl. Franç., Ed. 3 (Paris) 2: 331 (1805).
  • Garovaglia muscicola (Sw.) Trevis., Caratt. Tre Nuov. Gen. Collem.: 2 (1853).
  • Homodium muscicola (Sw.) Nyl. (1896).
  • Leptogium muscicola (Sw.) Fr. (1835).
  • Lichen muscicola Sw., Nova Acta Acad. Upsal. 4: 248 (1784).
  • Parmelia muscicola (Sw.) Ach., Method. Lich.: 244 (1803).
  • Patellaria muscicola (Sw.) Wallr. (1831).

Thallus richly and dichotomously branched, greyish to brown, small, loosely inter-woven cushion like mass, 1~10 mm across. Branches cylindrical, (0.04) 0.05~0.12 (0.19) mm wide, becoming thinner and shorter towards the apices. Apices of branches reddish brown and somewhat ellipsoid. Cortex 1~2 cells thick, cortical cells in a cross section polygonal to irregular 7~9 × 5.5~6.5 µm. Surface view rectangular to irregular 5~8 × 3.5~4.5 µm, colorless to brown. Photobiont Nostoc, not in obvious chains, but clustered, cells blue green, rounded to elliptical, 6~8.5 × 4~7 µm (Fig. 1). Apothecia and pycnidia not seen.


No lichen substances detected by TLC.


P. muscicola is characterized by the presence of Nostoc as the photobiont in the medulla because other Polychidium species including P. cortotum, P. dendriscum and P. stipitatum have Scytonema as the photobiont [7]. According to Brodo et al. [11], P. muscicola closely resembles Cetraria aculeata, Pseudephebe pubescens and P. minuscula, but the latter species have green algae as the photobiont. Further, Leptogium tenuissimum, a tiny, branched, almost terete and rosette lichen, also resembles P. muscicola, but its thallus is wrinkled and its spores are muriform.

Specimen examined

Mt. Jiri, Sannae-myeon, Namwonsi, Jeollabuk-do, Korea, on bark, 35°18' 48.9" N, 127°35' 13.5" E, alt. 1,120 m, 18 Jun 2006, J. S. Hur, 060356-2.

Ecology and distribution

P. muscicola was found on an unknown moss species together with the lichen thallus Myelochroa irrugans on the bark of a tree. P. muscicola is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, being found in Austria [18], British Columbia [10], Canada [10], Denmark [19], Finland [20], Germany [21], Great Britain [4], Ireland [4, 22], Japan [13], Kenya [9, 23], Mongolia [24], Montenegro [25], Morocco [26], USA [11], Norway [27], Poland [28], Portugal [29], Spain [30] and Sweden [27]. The species has also been recovered from Papua New Guinea in the Southern Hemisphere [15].


This work was supported by a grant from the Korean Forest Service Program (KNA 2012) through the Korea National Arboretum and the Korean National Research Resource Center Programme.

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Article Categories:
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Keywords: Fruticose, Massalongiaceae, Nostoc, Polychidium, South Korea.

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