Distribution: N - Frl, Ven, Lomb, Emil (Fariselli & al. 2020), Lig. C - Tosc, Laz, Abr, Sar (Zedda 2002, Rizzi & al. 2011, Cossu 2013). S - Camp (Nimis & Tretiach 2004), Bas (Puntillo & al. 2012), Cal (Puntillo 1995, 1996), Si (Nimis & al. 1994).
Description: Thallus crustose, episubstratic, continuous or rimose, pale greenish grey to bluish grey, smooth or warted, with a more or less well-developed phenocortex covered with an epinecral layer. Apothecia biatorine, 0.2-0.8(-1.7) mm across, with a concave to finally slightly convex, pale yellow, pale pink, violet grey to pure black, often mottled, epruinose or thinly white-pruinose disc, and a concolorous or paler, raised to finally excluded proper margin. Proper exciple of radially arranged hyphae, 30-50 µm wide laterally, pale brown to black-brown and K+ violet in outer and upper parts, colourless or pale yellow within, with small crystals soluble in K; epithecium colourless or yellowish brown, with small crystals soluble in K, the pigmented parts K+ violet; hymenium colourless, 45-60 µm high, I+ blue; paraphyses mostly simple, c. 1.5 µm thick at base, the apical cells more or less clavate, 2-4 µm wide; hypothecium colourless or pale yellow. Asci 8-spored, cylindrical-clavate, the tholus with a conical, blunt, sometimes indistinct ocular chamber and a distinctly conical axial body: remainder of tholus I+ dark blue, darkest around the axial body. Ascospores 1(-3)-septate. hyaline, narrowly ellipsoid or oblong, straight or slightly curved, 8-16 x 2.5-3.5(-4) µm. Pycnidia immersed or almost sessile, black, 0.1-0.2(-0.3) mm across, often widely gaping and irregularly shaped, sometimes becoming multilocular, the wall with a brown, K+ purplish pigment. Conidia 1-celled, drop-shaped to bacilliform, 3-5 x 1.3-2 µm. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Spot tests: thallus K+ pale yellow, C-, KC-, P+ pale yellow. Chemistry: thallus with atranorin, chloroatranorin, roccellic acid, sometimes caperatic acid, and unidentified fatty acids; apothecia with traces of usnic acid.
Note: a mild-temperate species with a fragmented holarctic range, found on bark of old isolated trees in open, humid woodlands, rarely on lignum; probably more widespread in the past, presently mostly Tyrrhenian. The epithet “griffithii” (sometimes spelled “Grippithii”) was often used by XIX century Italian authors to designate Lecania cyrtella s.lat. (e.g. see Anzi 1860: 73). The record from Piemonte by Isocrono & Falletti (1999) needs confirmation, and is not accepted here. The species is included in the Italian red list of epiphytic lichens as “Near-threatened” (Nascimbene & al. 2013c).
Growth form: Crustose
Photobiont: green algae other than Trentepohlia
Reproductive strategy: mainly sexual
Most common in areas with a humid-warm climate (e.g. most of Tyrrenian Italy)