KEYS TO THE LICHENS OF ITALY - 68) FOLIOSE BROWN/BLACK PARMELIACEAE (Allantoparmelia, Melanelia, Melanelixia, Melanohalea, Montanelia, Pleurosticta; incl. brown/black species of Cetraria, Parmelia, Punctelia, Xanthoparmelia)
Pier Luigi Nimis
Apparatus of images: Andrea Moro - Software and databases: Stefano Martellos

This key includes all species of foliose, dark coloured Parmeliaceae known to occur in Italy (Nimis 2016), plus some species which are known from neighbouring areas (e.g. Nimis & al. 2018) and should be looked for in Italy, for a total of 37 infrageneric taxa.
The following genera are included:
Allantoparmelia (Vain.) Essl. - A genus with 3 species occurring on hard siliceous rocks in exposed situations, in more ore less arctic-alpine habitats of both Hemispheres. For further details see Thell & al. (2012).
Melanelia Essl. – This genus was originally segregated from Parmelia to include c. 40 species with a brown thallus. Four species were transferred by Thell (1995) from Cetraria, based mainly on reproductive, morphological and anatomical characters. Subsequent molecular, chemical and morphological studies have shown that the genus was not monophyletic. Blanco & al. (2004) created two new genera, Melanelixia and Melanohalea, while the Melanelia disjuncta-group forms the new genus Montanelia (Divakar & al. 2012). Melanelia stygia, the type species of the genus, is placed among the cetrarioid lichens, while the M. commixta-group is in a different clade (see e.g. Thell & al. 2004, 2009). As a result, Melanelia s.str. now includes 6 species only, 3 of which occur in Italy.
Melanelixia O. Blanco et al. - This genus (with M. glabra as the type species), is a recent segregate of Melanelia, based on molecular and morphological data (Blanco & al. 2004), which includes c. 15 species mainly distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. The genus is characterised by a pored or fenestrated epicortex, the lack of pseudocyphellae, and the production of lecanoric acid. For further details see e.g. Crespo & al. (2010).
Melanohalea O. Blanco et al. - Melanohalea (with M. exasperate as the type species), is a segregate of Melanelia based on molecular and morphological data (Blanco & al. 2004), which includes c. 22 species, most of which have the primary distribution on bark and wood in the Northern Hemisphere, with a few species occurring in the Southern Hemisphere only. The genus is characterised by pseudocyphellae, usually on warts or isidial tips, a non-pored epicortex, and a medulla containing depsidones or lacking secondary compounds. For further details see e.g. Crespo & al. (2010). M. infumata was reported from Italy by Hawksworth & al. (2008), without details on the Italian distribution: this northern species, however, is likely to be absent from the Alps, having been often confused with saxicolous specimens of M. elegantula (see e.g. the note by Roux & coll. 2014: 703).
Montanelia Divakar & al. - A molecular study of brown parmeliod Parmeliaceae by Divakar & al. (2012) showed that the Melanelia disjuncta-group forms a strongly supported, monophyletic lineage independent from Melanelia s.str. This group was segregated into the new genus Montanelia, which at the moment includes 5 species, mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere. The genus is characterised by short, narrow lobes with plane to convex margins, a non-pored epicortex, flat, effigurate pseudocyphellae on the upper surface, cylindrical to fusiform conidia, and a medulla containing orcinol depsides.
Pleurosticta Petr. - This small genus, originally described on the basis of pycnidial characters only, includes 2 species restricted to Eurasia and North Africa. The clarification of its relationships with other groups of brown parmelioid lichens requires further study (see Crespo & al. 2010).
The key also includes foliose, brown to black species of the following genera: Cetraria Ach., Parmelia Ach., Punctelia Krog, and Xanthoparmelia (Vain.) Hale


Blanco O., Crespo A., Divakar P.K., Esslinger Th.L., Hawksworth D.L., Lumbsch H.T. 2004. Melanelixia and Melanohalea, two new genera segregated from Melanelia (Parmeliaceae) based on molecular and morphological data. Mycol. Res., 108: 873-884.
Crespo A., Kauff F., Divakar P.K., del Prado R., Pérez-Ortega S., Amo de Paz G., Ferencova Z., Blanco O., Roca-Valiente B., Núñez-Zapata J., Cubas P., Argüello A., Elix J.A., Esslinger T.L., Hawksworth D.L., Millanes A., Molina M.C., Wedin M., Ahti T., Aptroot 2010. Phylogenetic generic classification of parmelioid lichens (Parmeliaceae, Ascomycota) based on molecular, morphological and chemical evidence. Taxon, 59, 6: 1735-1753.
Divakar P.K., Del Prado R., Lumbsch H.T., Wedin M., Esslinger T.L., Leavitt S.D., Crespo A. 2012. Diversification of the newly recognised lichen-forming fungal lineage Montanelia (Parmeliaceae, Ascomycota) and its relation to key geological and climatic events. Am. J. Bot., 99, 12: 2014-2026.
Hawksworth D.L., Blanco O., Divakar P.K., Ahti T., Crespo A. 2008. A first checklist of parmelioid and similar lichens in Europe and some adjacent territories, adopting revised generic circumscriptions and with indications of species distributions. Lichenologist, 40,1: 1-21.
Nimis P.L. 2016. The lichens of Italy. A second annotated catalogue. EUT, Trieste, 740 pp.
Nimis P.L., Hafellner J., Roux C., Clerc P., Mayrhofer H., Martellos S., Bilovitz P.O. 2018. The Lichens of the Alps. An Annotated Catalogue. Mycokeys, 31: 1-634.
Roux C. & coll. 2014. Catalogue des lichens et champignons lichénicoles de France métropolitaine. Henry des Abbayes, 1525 pp.
Thell A. 1995. A new position of the Cetraria commixta group in Melanelia (Ascomycotina, Parmeliaceae). Nova Hedwigia, 60, 3-4: 407-422.
Thell A., Feuerer T., Kärnefelt I., Myllys L., Stenroos S. 2004. Monophyletic groups within the Parmeliaceae identified by iTS rDNA β-tubulin and GAPDH sequences. Mycol. Prog., 3, 4: 297-314.
Thell A., Högnabba F., Elix J.A., Feuerer T., Kärnefelt I., Myllys L., Randlane T., Saag A., Stenroos S., Ahti T., Seaward M.R.D. 2009. Phylogeny of the cetrarioid core (Parmeliaceae) based on five genetic markers. Lichenologist, 41, 5: 489-511.
Thell A., Crespo A., Divakar P.K., Kärnefelt I., Leavitt S.D., Lumbsch T.H., Seaward M.R.D. 2012. A review of the lichen family Parmeliaceae. Nordic J. Bot., 30, 6: 641-664.

Last modified: July, 17, 2021

Project Dryades, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste - CC BY-SA 4.0