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Gintaras Kantvilas 3

Wawea Henssen & Kantvilas, Lichenologist 17: 86 (1985).

Type: W. fruticulosa Henssen & Kantvilas

Thallus fruticose, corticate, homoiomerous, arising from a patchy, effuse, glossy black or greyish prothallus, or attached to the substratum by rhizoidal hyphae c. 3.5 µm thick. Photobiont Nostoc, with cells 2.5–5(–7) µm diam. in chains or clusters, ± evenly dispersed through the thallus. Ascomata apothecia, biatorine, lateral, convex to subglobose, at length becoming multi-divided, sessile and basally constricted, substipitate when old. Proper exciple indistinct, reflexed, in section cupulate, paraplectenchymatous. Hymenium hemiamyloid, I+ yellow-red, KI+ blue, not inspersed, highly coherent. Asci cylindrical, 8-spored, with a thin, KI+ blue outer wall, a thickened, essentially non-amyloid tholus and with the ocular chamber absent or poorly developed and narrowly conical. Paraphyses simple or sparsely branched, with apices sometimes expanded. Ascospores fusiform to narrowly ellipsoid, 0–1(–3)-septate (mostly asymmetrically), hyaline, non-halonate, thin-walled. Conidiomata occurring in apothecial primordia. Conidia bacilliform. Chemistry: nil.

A monotypic genus, known from high rainfall areas of Tasmania and also recorded from New Zealand. It belongs in the small family Arctomiaceae together with the alpine-bipolar genus Arctomia (c. 10 species) and the monotypic, temperate European genus Gregorella; neither of these occurs in Tasmania.

Key References: Henssen & Kantvilas (1985); Lumbsch et al. (2005).

1 Wawea fruticulosa Henssen & Kantvilas

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Lichenologist 17: 86 (1985). Type: Tasmania, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Pencil Pine Creek at northern entrance of park, on burnt trunk of Nothofagus cunninghamii, 758 m, 22 February 1968, W.A. Weber & D. McVean (holo—COLO; iso—HO!, also distributed as Ramalodium succulentum Nyl. in Lichenes Exsicc. Colo. no. 452).

Thallus bluish grey to olive-brown or blackened, forming extensively spreading cushions or mats 0.5–1 mm high composed of erect or ascending, ± dichotomously branched, longitudinally wrinkled and often rather gnarled lobes 0.1–0.3 mm wide. Apothecia to 2.3 mm wide; disc red-brown to dark brown to blackish; proper exciple in section pale yellow-brown to red-brown, 30–70 µm thick. Hypothecium (25–)45–70 µm thick, hyaline to pale yellow-brown. Hymenium hyaline to pale yellow-brown to red-brown, especially in the upper part, (70–)100–150 µm thick; paraphyses 2–2.5 µm thick, with apices often expanded to 3–5 µm wide; asci 80–140 × 10–13 µm. Ascospores (15–)17–19.9–24(–25) × 5–6.4–8(–9) µm. Conidia (1.5–)2–4 × 1 µm.

Very common and widespread in wetter areas, ranging from lowland to alpine elevations, this species has a wide ecological amplitude. It is most frequently found on the soft, moist, spongy bark of species of Melaleuca and Leptospermum in wet scrub and forest, especially in implicate rainforest. It also occurs on inorganic or peaty soil in heathland and woodland at higher elevations, as well as on the buttresses of Eucalyptus subcrenulata and E. gunnii in subalpine bogs and at wet forest margins. The swards of dark, contorted, entangled lobes, with apothecia nestled amongst them, make Wawea unmistakable.

Mt Wellington summit peak, 147°14’ 42°54’S, 1963, P.W. James (BM, HO); Lake Fenton, 42°40’S 146°36’E, 1000 m, 1981, A. Henssen 27596 & G. Kantvilas (H, HO); Mayfield Flats, upper Mersey River, 41°55’S 146°12’E, 970 m, 2012, G. Kantvilas 631/12 (HO).


Henssen A, Kantvilas G (1985) Wawea fruticulosa, a new genus and species from the Southern Hemisphere. Lichenologist 17 85–97.

Lumbsch HT, del Prado R, Kantvilas G (2005) Gregorella, a new genus to accommodate Moelleropsis humida amd a molecular phylogeny of Arctomiaceae. Lichenologist 37 291–302.

  1. This work can be cited as: Kantvilas G (2023). Wawea, version 2023:1. In MF de Salas (Ed.) Flora of Tasmania Online. 2 pp. (Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart). https://flora.tmag.tas.gov.au/lichen-genera/wawea/ (accessed ).  ↩︎

  2. This treatment was supported by the Australian Biological Resources Study's National Taxonomy Research Grant Program (grant no. 4-EHINNOL).  ↩︎

  3. Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, PO Box 5058, UTAS LPO, Sandy Bay, TAS 7005, Australia.  ↩︎