Common name(s): English: Wila, Black Moss, Black Tree Beard, Black Tree Lichen, Edible Horsehair Lichen, Fremont's Horsehair Lichen, Tree Hair; Salishan languages: Wila
Taxonomic Notes: This species is one of the morphologically similar Bryoria species once referred to as Alectoria jubata (Turner 1977). More recent taxonomic work comparing DNA suggested that B. tortuosa and B. fremontii are conspecific and that variation between the two can instead be attributed to differences between North American and European habitats (Goward 1999, Velmala et al. 2009, Myllys et al. 2011).
Bryoria fremontii is an abundant species in parts of western North America and Eurasia. This species is an important traditional resource for many indigenous people in North America and has historically been used as a source of dye, food, clothing, and medicine (Turner 1977, Brodo et al. 2001, Crawford 2007). Though several threats are likely to impact B. fremontii, its broad distribution and abundance makes it unlikely that any threats present a substantial risk of extinction at this time. Given its broad distribution and the absence of indicators for widespread population decline, B. fremontii is currentlylisted as Least Concern.
Assessor/s: Chandler, A., Meredith, C.R., McMullin, T. & Allen, J.; Reviewer/s: Yahr, R.; Contributor(s): Hollinger, J. Facilitators(s) and Compiler(s): Chandler, A., Allen, J. & Scheidegger, C.
Partner(s) and Institution(s): ABQ Biopark
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Find out more about the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteriahere.
Nash, T.H., Ryan, B.D., Gries, C., Bungartz, F., (eds.) 2002. Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region. Vol 1.
Thallus: pendent, filamentous, often very long, 6-45 (-90) cm, often draping tree branches, not brittle branching: anisotomic to submonopodial, usually frequent from the base branches: uneven in thickness, (0.2-) 0.4-1.5 (-4.0); main branches: foveolate and twisted, sometimes becoming dorsiventrally compressed and expanded toward the base; true lateral spinules: absent surface: yellow-brown to red-brown or dark red-brown, often variable within the same specimen, shiny or less frequently dull; pseudocyphellae: absent or sparse (perhaps only torsion cracks), depressed and elongate fusiform, white to pale brown soralia: rare, absent in most specimens, sparse when present (not seen in Sonoran material), tuberculate, pale to bright yellow, usually as wide as the branches on which they occur, up to 2.0 (-4.0) mm long Apothecia: absent or sparse, lateral; thalline exciple: concolorous with thallus, thin and soon becoming excluded, 1.0-2.0 (4.0) mm in diam.; disc: becoming convex at maturity, yellow pruinose asci: clavate, 8-spored ascospores: subglobose, simple, 5-8 x 4-5 µm Pycnidia: not seen Spot tests: cortex and medulla: K-, C-, KC-, P-, UV- (soralia and apothecia may be UV+) Secondary metabolites: no lichen substances, or vulpinic acid (in soralia and apothecia only). Substrate and ecology: on bark or wood, mainly conifers in dry, open forests, occasionally on hardwoods near the coast World distribution: Eurasia and western North America Sonoran distribution: southern California and northern Baja California. Notes: It is characterized by its usually shiny, broad, foveolate main stems and its characteristic yellowish brown to dark reddish brown color. It often forms long thick beards when dry. Although quite variable, well-developed material is difficult to confuse with any other species in California except possibly Nodobryoria oregana, which has a dull surface and jig-saw puzzle-like cortex in surface view and often has a few apothecia with brown discs. Records of B. fremontii from Arizona are dubious and are most likely poorly developed, non-sorediate specimens of B. fuscescens]. It may be extinct from the Sonoran region, as only one specimen collected in Riverside Co., California, by Hasse in 1904 was found.