New lichen species discovered, grows on orchids


This video is called Rock meets Lichen.

Translated from a report by the Dutch bryologists and lichenologists of the BLWG:

Pest in orchid hothouse turns out to be unknown lichen

Post published by BLWG on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

At a grower’s in the province of Utrecht in the beginning of last year a new lichen species has been found, growing on leaves of orchids. Described in the scientific journal Lichenologist as Arthonia orchidacida by researcher André Aptroot, this remarkable species is new to science.

The species grows on living leaves of cultivated exotic orchids in a greenhouse. The lichen covers the older leaves and infects them as well. The leaves remain lighter in color because the lichen takes away light. Also, the plants have to be cleaned manually for sale. Attempts to fight the lichen have not worked yet. The species lives up to its name orchidacida, Latin for orchid killer.

The origin of new species is still unclear. The species is known only from one greenhouse, but is possibly present in other greenhouses as well. The greenhouse where the species grows is not very hot, so the source is likely to be found in cold, mountainous areas in the tropics. Of the 27,000 lichen species worldwide, very few are known as invasive exotic species. Anyhow, this is the first lichen species known causing economic harm as a pest.

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