A large “reindeer” Cladonia, similar to C. rangiferina, from which it differs in blackening podetial bases, brownish branch ends and red pycnidial gel. However, the two species are difficult to distinguish when the thalli are young or wet. Cladonia stygia grows on heathlands, peatbogs, in open pine forests, on mossy rock outcrops and screes on acidic bedrock. Its typical substrates are peaty soil, humus and moss cushions. In Europe, the lichen is mainly distributed in the boreal zone. In the Czech Republic, it occurs from the colline to the subalpine belt, at lower elevation only rarely on permanently humid and cold localities. It is more abundant only in the Šumava Mts and the Brdy highlands. However, its Czech distribution range is not fully known because it was often not distinguished from C rangiferina, which it frequently grows together with.
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.taxonomic classification:
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