Peltigera leucophlebia is a large folios lichen loosely appressed to mossy rocks, soils or the forest floor. The thallus can exceede 40 cm in diameter with individual rounded lobes with ruffled edges 2 to 3 cm broad. The upper thallus surface color will vary in color depending on moisture content, when wet a bright vibrant green is observed while it is a dull light green to tan when dry. The brown of the dry thallus becomes darker brown with high levels of direct sunlight. On the upper surface, cephalodia are present either sunken into the surface or sitting just on top. Though cyanobacteria are present in the cephalodia, the primary photobiont is a green algae. As is indicative of the genus, the lower surface has distinct veins on the lower surface that will grade from white at the edge of the thallus to balck at the center. Rhizines on the lower surface are tufted and brush like. Apothecia are present on upright, raised narrow lobes, with an absence of the green cortex under the apothecia.
The distribution of P. leucophlebia is very widespread in the foressts of the Pacific Northwest, found at all elevations of montane forests though is occasionally found in cold or dry areas.
The is one other species that looks superficially like P. leucophlebia, P. britannica. The two can be distinguished by the absence of black coloration in the veins on the lower thallus surface. P. aphthosa is also a look alike but the cephalodia on the suraface of the thallus are more sunken in P. aphtosa and are not easily scratched off. Intermediates between P. leucophlebia and all the look-alikes exist, further complicating identification.
The common name of Peltigera leucophlebia is listed as Ruffled Freckle Pelt.
Photos taken along a logging road cut near Detroit, Oregon and Butte, Montana.
Brodo, I.M., S.D. Sharnoff and S. Sharnoff (2001) Lichens of North America. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
McCune, B. and L. Geiser (2009) Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon.
Pojar, J. and A. McKinnon (1994) Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Washington, Canada.