New Moss and Lichen Species for Ohio Found in the Year 2022

Tomás J. Curtis,


The year 2022 was a good year for the study of mosses and lichens in Ohio. Several new species were added to the moss and lichen flora of Ohio including one moss and nine lichens. Lichens are especially understudied and it is not unexpected when several new species are found. In addition, there are several active lichen and moss experts that reside within Ohio and contribute towards representation of these cryptogams each year, and the state is well studied in comparison to other states.

In the text below, each of the new species are addressed as well as the circumstances in which they were found in Ohio for the first time. Note that remarks pertaining to distribution and records are based off of the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria (CNALH) database. Several of the new species are continentally, if not globally rare. Most specimens cited here were deposited at the Tom S. and Miwako K. Cooperrider Herbarium (KE), but some duplicates were also donated to the New York Botanical Garden (NY).

New Mosses for Ohio

Tortella fragilis (Hooker & Wilson) Limpricht, Laubm. – Primarily a northern moss species, Tortella fragilis was discovered for the first time in Ohio in June of 2022, during the 2022 OMLA Summer Foray held at Ringneck Ridge Wildlife Area in Sandusky County. It was collected by the author from calcareous soil in a cedar barren otherwise surrounded by mesic forest, and was later determined to represent T. fragilis in the lab. This determination was confirmed by Dr. Barbara K. Andreas. This species differs most notably from other Tortella species in its long, subulate leaves with fragile apices that break off as a method of asexual propagation (Zander & Hoe 1979). SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. SANDUSKY CO.: Washington Twp., Ringneck Ridge Wildlife Area, approx. 3.6 mi. N of Helena, 18 Jun. 2022, T.J. Curtis 536.

New Lichens for Ohio

Acarospora oligospora (Nyl.) Arnold – Acarospora oligospora is a widespread species, but it is scarcely collected east of the Mississippi River in North America. It is diagnostic among other saxicolous Acarospora species in its larger ascospores and preference for acidic substrates (Nash et al. 2007, Knudsen et al. 2021). It was discovered for the first time in Ohio in August of 2022 during some surveying efforts conducted within Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve in Jackson County. The specimen was collected by the author from a sandstone rock embedded within a rock wall while exclaiming “well, this is probably something new!” He was accompanied by Dr. Barbara K. Andreas, Ray Showman, Coleman Minney, and Brian Gara. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. JACKSON CO.: Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve, 13 Aug. 2022, T.J. Curtis L7.

Bacidia crenulata R.C. Harris and Ladd ined. – On an unusually warm day in March of 2022, the author decided to do some collecting at Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County, Ohio. There he collected an odd specimen from a young elm in a bottomland hardwood forest. After combing through the literature, the author determined the specimen to representBacidia crenulata, a tentatively named species that has yet to be formally described

and is only known by a few confirmed collections from the Ozarks (Harris & Ladd 2005). A duplicate specimen was sent to the New York Botanical Garden where Dr. James C. Lendemer compared it with the Ozark material. It was a perfect match, and the species is now back on track for being formally described in a peer-reviewed journal. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. GUERNSEY CO.: Monroe Twp., approx. 2.9 mi. W of the Freedom Rd./Broadhead Rd. Jct., 1 Mar. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L6689).

Cladonia scabriuscula (Delise) Nyl. – In September of 2022, the author took the opportunity to survey a large property in Coshocton County, Ohio that had a past of heavy mining activity and disturbance. After decades of mining, massive cliff faces were carved out of the landscape, which created an abnormally dark and humid environment at the bottoms of the cliffs. This environment proved to be quite conducive to the growth of several rare and unusual moss and lichen species. Among the lichens found was Cladonia scabriuscula, which had never before been collected from the state. Primarily more northern in its distribution, this conspicuous species is not easily missed, so the absence of prior records in Ohio may indicate genuine rarity there. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. COSHOCTON CO.: American Electric Power (AEP) III property, 25 Sep. 2022, T.J. Curtis L177.

Epigloea soleiformis Döbbeler – With only three other records from North America, Epigloea soleiformis is very rarely encountered, and perhaps heavily overlooked due to its small size. This species was collected in Ohio for the first time in March of 2022 by the author while accompanied by Barbara K. Andreas and Ray Showman. It was found during a survey of a mostly forested property in Adams County. This property, though not striking

in its physical features, proved to be quite diverse as further explained here in the paragraph under Vezdaea retigera. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. ADAMS CO.: Meigs Twp, property of Dayton Power & Light, approx 4 mi WSW of Peebles, 24 Mar. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L6916).

Ochrolechia mahluensis Räsänen – In eastern North America, there are scattered records of Ochrolechia mahluensis across the Appalachian Mountains. In Ohio, this species was discovered for the first time in Hocking County in March of 2022. It was collected by the author, accompanied by Barbara K. Andreas and Ray Showman, while surveying a property owned by a private conservation group. The specimen was taken from sheltered bark of a large, mature oak in a xeric, Appalachian oak forest above a cliff system. It was later found again in July of 2022 in almost identical circumstances, this time in the adjacent Fairfield County. There it was collected by the author while accompanied by Robert Curtis. SPECIMENS EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. FAIRFIELD CO.: Berne Twp., “Stone Canyon,” approx. 2.8 mi. NW of Sugar Grove, 2 Jul. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L7583). HOCKING CO.: Laurel Twp., 1.9 mi. SW of Gibsonville, 23 Mar. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L6882).

Porina heterospora (Fink ex J. Hedrick) R.C. Harris – Porina heterospora is a relatively diagnostic and conspicuous species that is endemic to southeastern North America. This said, its discovery in Ohio was quite unexpected. This species was found for the first time in the state in February of 2022. It was found by Shaun Pogacnik at Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve in Adams County while accompanied by the author. Recognizing it as something unusual, Shaun got the attention of the author who, after looking at it, exclaimed “what is that

doing all the way up here?” Indeed, this Ohio record is the furthest north in the world. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. ADAMS CO.: Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve, 18 Feb. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L6627).

Verrucaria phloeophila Breuss – Verrucaria phloeophila has a scattered eastern North American distribution where it is perhaps most abundant in the Ozark Mountains. It belongs to a relatively small group of Verrucaria species that grow on bark, but itself contains quite a bit of variability (Lendemer & Breuss 2009). It was found in Ohio for the first time in August of 2022. It was collected by the author while surveying private property in Fairfield County. See the paragraph under Verrucaria quercina for more information. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. FAIRFIELD CO.: Sugar Grove Twp., Buckeye Sullivan property, 14 Aug. 2022, T.J. Curtis L20.

Verrucaria quercina Breuss – Similar to Verrucaria phloeophila, V. quercina differs primarily in its more evident involucrellum and its more areolate thallus (Lendemer & Breuss 2009). It was discovered in Ohio for the first time in April of 2022. It was collected by the author in Huron County from the base of a cherry in a seral, lowland forest surrounded by agriculture, indicating it is disturbance tolerant. This record represents one of 11 in North America. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. HURON CO.: Richmond Twp., Willard Marsh Wilderness Area, approx. 4.3 mi. SW of the OH-99/US-224 jct. in Willard, 2 Apr. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L6992).

Vezdaea retigera Poelt & Döbbeler – Vezdaea retigera is a rare species that is unique from other Vezdaea species in its simple ascospores, 8-spored asci, sparse paraphyses, and goniocystate thallus (Lendemer 2011). It was found in Ohio for the first time at the same locality and on the same day as Epigloea soleiformis.

Furthermore, like E. soleiformis, this Ohio record of V. retigera represents the fourth record in North America. The discovery of both of these species, as well as several other rare and interesting species not outlined here, are a testament to the conservation value of the property they were found at. SPECIMEN EXAMINED: U.S.A. OH. ADAMS CO.: Meigs Twp, property of Dayton Power & Light, approx 4 mi WSW of Peebles, 24 Mar. 2022, T.J. Curtis s.n. (KE L6977).

Literature cited

Harris, R.C. & D. Ladd 2005. Preliminary draft: Ozark Lichens. Enumerating the lichens of the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. New York Botanical Garden Steere Herbarium. Harris_Ladd_2005.pdf.

Knudsen, K., J. Hollinger, A. Götz & E. Hodková 2021. A new name for a common desert lichen. Bulletin of the California Lichen Society 28(1), 1-4.

Lendemer, J.C. & O. Breuss 2009. Verrucaria thujae (Verrucariaceae, lichenized Ascomycetes), a new corticolous species from the Great Lakes Region of North America. Opuscula Philolichenum 7, 13-16.

Lendemer, J.C. 2011. Vezdaea schuyleriana (Vezdaeaceae, Lichenized Ascomycetes), a new species from eastern North America 484, 1-4.

Nash, T.H., B.D. Ryan, C. Gries & F. Bungartz (eds.) 2007. Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region vol. 3.

Zander, R.H. & W.J. Hoe 1979. Geographic disjunction and heterophylly in Tortella fragilis var. tortelloides (= Sarconeurum tortelloides). Bryologist 82(1), 84-87.