T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Xanthoria parietina (Maritime sunburst lichen)

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Lecanoromycetes
Order: Teloschistales
Family: Teloschistaceae
Genus: Xanthoria
Species: X. parietina
Binomial name: Xanthoria parietina
Common names: Maritime sunburst lichen, Common orange lichen, Yellow scale, Shore lichen, Gold shield lichen.

Xanthoria parietina is a conspicuous yellow foliose lichen forming large, rounded patches up to 10 cm across. It has world wide distribution. It is found inland but it is commonest near the coast. It inhabits sunny, exposed places that are rich in nitrogen such as trees, rocks and man made substrates and sea cliffs beneath bird perching areas. It may form a distinct narrow band on rocks and walls just above high water level.

Xanthoria parietina is formed of two organisms living together symbiotically:
1: A fungus which forms the body of the lichen, which consists of flattened spreading leaf-like lobes and produces spores in the bright orange discs on the surface. These discs are surrounded by a raised paler margin, which becomes crenulate.
2: A single-celled green alga which is protected by the fungus from extreme conditions of UV or drought by the yellow colour (parietin) which acts as a sunscreen. In return the alga provides the nutrients for the fungus through photosynthesis.

Xanthoria parietina can be used as a monitor for nitrogen in the atmosphere. It is also a very pollution-tolerant species. In laboratory experiments, this species can tolerate exposure to air contaminants and bisulphite ions with little or no damaging effect. It is also tolerant of heavy metal contamination. For these reasons, this species has found use as a biomonitor for measuring levels of toxic elements.Xanthoria parietina is a very pollution-tolerant species. In laboratory experiments, this species can tolerate exposure to air contaminants and bisulphite ions with little or no damaging effect. It is also tolerant of heavy metal contamination. For these reasons, this species has found use as a biomonitor for measuring levels of toxic elements.

 



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