Cladonia polycarpoides is usually found only in the form of primary squamules which are conspicuously large, erect when dry and have the K+ yellow to red reaction due to the presence of norstictic acid. It may sometimes be present in low concentration only, so verification by TLC is necessary. Podetia are robust, corticate, unbranched and ascyphose. It might be confused with C. cervicornis, which has very similar ecological requirements.
It is a heliophilic and thermophilic species associated with natural stands with low competition from vascular plants, such as various pioneer communities on basic to acidic substrates. It typically occurs on heathlands (Suza 1946). The lichen can be found at more exposed places, such as shallow rocky soil on rock outcrops, often of volcanic origin. In Europe, it is one of the rarer Cladonia species, mainly known from the centre of the continent. In the Czech Republic, it is currently rarely recorded, mainly in central Bohemia. There are also localities in southern Moravia, northern and western Bohemia. C. polycarpoides probably used to be more abundant in the past (see, e.g., Černohorský et al. 1956). It is probably partly overlooked because of common absence of podetia.
Literature: Malíček J., Bouda F., Kocourková J., Palice Z. & Peksa O. (2011): Zajímavé nálezy vzácných a přehlížených dutohlávek v České republice. – Bryonora 48: 34–50. Suza J. (1946): K lichenologickému rázu středoevropských vřesovin, především xerothermních obvodů. – Věstník Královské české společnosti nauk 1944/18: 1–35. Černohorský Z., Nádvorník J. & Servít M. (1956): Klíč k určování lišejníků ČSR. I. díl. − ČSAV, Praha.taxonomic classification: most frequented synonyms:Cladonia subcariosa
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