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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Cladonia species lichens and fungi at Broadwater Warren. 23.10.23

I reached Broadwater Warren by taking the 29 bus from Brighton to Eridge Green and walking through the Sussex Wildlife Trust's Eridge Rocks nature reserve. For details of how to get to Eridge Green see Eridge Rocks: A wonderland of lichen, fungi, moss, liverworts and slime moulds. 04.01.23

I saw many trees, flowering plants, mosses, liverworts and other lichens but this post is just going to focus on Cladonia species lichens as they were so abundant at Broadwater Warren, and the abundant fungi at Broadwater Warren, as autumn is a time when many fungi fruit. Other things I saw can be viewed on my iNaturalist public page: Observations · iNaturalist

All sections of text in italics are quotations, sources sited.

The photographs are presented in the chronological order of my walk.

I am only an amateur naturalist; thus all identifications are provisional; if you note a mistake in identification please feel free to tell me. If you want to contact me about any aspect of this blog, email me at simeon[underscore]elliott[at]gmail[dot]com.


Cladonia is a genus of moss-like lichens in the family Cladoniaceae. ... two main morphological groups are commonly differentiated by taxonomists: the Cladonia morpho-type and the Cladina morpho-type. The Cladonia morpho-type has many more species, and is generally described as a group of squamulose (grow from squamules), cup-bearing lichens. The Cladina morpho-types are often referred to as forage lichens, mat-forming lichens, or reindeer lichens (due to their importance as caribou winter forage). Cladonia - Wikipedia

Cladonia lichens are notoriously difficult to identify, so all these identifications are provisional; with one of these Cladonia I saw, probably Cladonia chlorophaea, I consulted an expert on Cladonia: Brian Eversham, CEO of Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire via Twitter/X @BrianE_Cambs

There is a very useful free guide to Cladonia with keys from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee that can be accessed here Cladonia: a field guide ( The most recent revision (2019) of the Cladonia volume of the British Lichen Society's British and Irish Lichens (the standard flora of British and Irish Lichens) can be accessed here Cladoniaceae rev01.pdf ( These are the resources that I use for Cladonia identification, along with Dobson (2018) Lichens. An illustrated guide to the British and Irish species 7th ed see: Dobson - new edition now available | The British Lichen Society. Many lichen do not have commonly used vernacular names; the English names I use are those used by iNaturalist; but these are not always the vernacular names used in England.

Accurately to identify some Cladonia, chemical testing and microscopy is required; with one of the Cladonia I saw, probably C. chlorophaea, I tested it with chemical reagents at home with a small sample collected in the field. For the ethics and law regarding specimen collecting see: Collecting Specimens | The British Lichen Society.

Moreover, fungi are not always easy to identify. The resources I find useful are Buczacki, Stefan; Shields, Chris; Ovenden, Denys (2013) Collins Fungi Guide : The Most Complete Field Guide to the Mushrooms & Toadstools of Britain & Ireland and Philips (2006) Mushrooms

But you don't need to be able to identify lichen and fungi to enjoy them; I get great pleasure from observing the beauty of things, even when I can't identify what species they are.

Fungi and lichen are related. A lichen is not a single organism; it is a stable symbiotic association between a fungus and algae and/or cyanobacteria. Like all fungi, lichen fungi require carbon as a food source; this is provided by their symbiotic algae and/or cyanobacteria, that are photosynthetic. The lichen symbiosis is thought to be a mutualism, since both the fungi and the photosynthetic partners, called photobionts, benefit. What is a Lichen? | The British Lichen Society

Broadwater Warren

Broadwater Warren is an RSPB nature reserve area of lowland heath with many cut tree stumps, and some ancient stools of coppiced Chestnut. Lowland heath, cut tree stumps and coppiced Chestnut stools are very propitious substrates for some Cladonia species.

Set in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near to Royal Tunbridge Wells, there have been some big changes at Broadwater Warren. Heathland and woodland restoration is returning Broadwater to its historic habitat of centuries ago. This reserve is returning to a wildlife-rich mosaic of heathland and native woodland with scrubby woodland margins, scattered stands of pines and rare woodland mire. Broadwater Warren | The RSPB

Broadwater Farms is known for its rich diversity of fruiting fungi in Autumn , see: Fungal fun with boletes at Broadwater - Broadwater Warren - Broadwater Warren - The RSPB Community

These Cladonia were growing high up in the sawn trunk of a dead tree (probably Beech) in Eridge Rocks, on the way to Broadwater Warren; they were two high up to identify, but were a magnificent sight.

Broadwater Warren:

Possibly Scurfy Twiglet, Tubaria furfuracea

Possibly Blushing Rosette, Abortiporus biennis

Probably Branched Pixie-cup Lichen, Cladonia ramulosa

Probably Lipstick Powderhorn, Cladonia macilenta

growing on the end of the felled tree, along with the moss Broom Forkmoss, Dicranum scoparium

Possibly Deceiver, Laccaria laccata, fugus with mosses and lichens

Probably Branched Pixie-cup Lichen, Cladonia ramulosa

Probably Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata

Yellow Stagshorn, Calocera viscosa

Possibly Finger Cup Lichen, Cladonia digitata

Probably Branched Pixie-cup Lichen, Cladonia ramulosa

Unknown Cladonia

Probably Clustered Bonnet, Mycena inclinata

Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria

Proably False Death-Caps, Amanita citrina; I saw many

Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria

Probably False Death-Caps, Amanita citrina

Fly Agarics, Amanita muscaria

Probably False Death-Caps, Amanita citrina

Earth Ball, Scleroderma citrinum

Probably Mealy Pixie Cup, Cladonia chlorophaea s. stict.. Growing on sand behind the seat at the heathland viewing point

Next to the above were probably Common Powderhorn, Cladonia coniocraea. I see C. coniocraea frequently in the low and high weald; it frequently grows of the stumps of felled trees and the stoolsof coppiced tress.

Possibly, Stubble Rosegill, Volvopluteus gloiocephalus

Probably more False Death-Caps, Amanita citrina; their presentation is very variable

Possibly Variable Webcap, Cortinarius anomalus

Probably Smoky Bracket, Bjerkandera adusta

Probably another False Death-Caps, Amanita citrina

Probably another Earth Ball, Scleroderma citrinum

Possibly Bleeding Broadleaf Crust, Stereum rugosum, with possibly a Rounded Snail, Discus rotundatus

Probably a Pin Mold, Order Mucorales, on probably rabbit droppings

Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare. A very common fungus in Sussex, on High Weald, Low Weald and Chalk Downland trees

Turkey-Tail, Trametes versicolor. Another very common fungi on dead wood across Sussex

Common Earthball, Scleroderma citrinum. A very common ground fungus in Sussex

Probably Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata, on stool of coppiced Chestnut, Castanea sativa, with mosses

Probably Shaggy Parasol, Chlorophyllum rhacodes



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