Chaenotheca sphaerocephala Nádv.

Chaenotheca sphaerocephala has a smooth granulose thallus that usually contains barbatic and obtusatic acids (Pd+ yellow-orange), and stalks of fruiting bodies covered by grey pruina. The species name is derived from the shape of capitulum (the “head”, i.e. the top part of a fruiting body) with a reduced exciple. Bark patches, completely protected from rain, hidden in crevices and depressions at the bases of old spruces (less often firs or other trees) with conspicuous root swellings, are the lichen’s typical substrate. The species may grow also on wood (especially populations occurring in the Southern Hemisphere; Tibell 1998). In the Czech Republic, it has been reported also from a dead moss on overhanging boulders and rocks in relic habitats (Palice 1999, Malíček & Palice 2013).

The species is widespread, having been reported from all the continents except Antarctica (Tibell 1998). However, about a half of a century, the lichen was known only from a single locality in Chile, from where it was described by a Czech lichenologist, Josef Nádvorník (Nádvorník 1942). European distribution of the species is still not sufficiently known. Although obviously, C. sphaerocephala is rare, it may also be partially overlooked due to its specific ecology. It is a reliable indicator of a mountain spruce forests in central Europe (Malíček et al. 2019), though it is seldomly recorded outside the Czech Republic. In the country, it grows in well-preserved forests in the Šumava, Králický Sněžník, Hrubý Jeseník, Krkonoše and Novohradské hory Mountains.

Literature: Nádvorník J. (1942): Beiträge zur Kenntnis der aussereuropäischen coniocarpen Flechten. – Annales Mycologici 40: 133–139. Tibell L. (1998): Crustose mazaediate lichens and the Mycocaliciaceae in temperate South America. – Bibliotheca Lichenologica 71: 1–107. Palice Z. (1999): New and noteworthy records of lichens in the Czech Republic. – Preslia 71: 289–336. Malíček J. & Palice Z. (2013): Lichens of the virgin forest reserve Žofínský prales (Czech Republic) and surrounding woodlands. – Herzogia 26: 253–292. Malíček J., Palice Z., Vondrák J., Kostovčík M., Lenzová V. & Hofmeister J. (2019): Lichens in old growth and managed mountain spruce forests in the Czech Republic: assessment of biodiversity, functional traits and bioindicators. – Biodiversity and Conservation 28: 3497–3528.

taxonomic classification:

Ascomycota Lichinomycetes Coniocybales Coniocybaceae Chaenotheca


Red list:CR – critically endangered

Occurrence in the Czech Republic

All records: 31, confirmed 31. One click on a selected square displays particular record(s), including their source(s).

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Altitude preferences

Distribution Timeline

Substrate type

Substrate preferences

© Botanický ústav AV ČR, v. v. i. 2020–2023