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Mycoblastus sanguinarius (L.) Norman

Bloody heart lichen, blood lichen

KingdomFungiMushrooms, lichens, gel fungi, yeasts, and molds; also called eukaryotes
DivisionAscomycotaSac fungi
SubdivisionPezizomycotinaSac fungi with filaments
ClassLecanoromycetes“Lichenized” fungi
OrderLecanoralesMostly lichen-forming fungi

About plant names...

Identification: Grayish white or grayish green, with tiny gray "warts." Occurs on the wood or bark of deciduous trees. This is a crustose lichen (a thin layer that almost looks like paint), but thicker than most. The apothecia (fruiting bodies) are shiny black dots less than ⅛″ (3.2 mm) across. There is a bright red zone underneath (the reason for the name "bloody heart lichen"), but you'll need to slice into it to see it. (I don't know what the red-brown region is on the photo at right—I don't think it is part of the lichen.)

Mycoblastus sanguinarius (bloody heart lichen, blood lichen)

Photograph of a herbarium specimen taken through a dissecting microscope (x8) shows a bright red pigment in a cut apothecium. M. sanguinarius was growing on a dead branch along the trail up Black Mountain, S of Tunk Lake, NE of Ellsworth, Hancock County, Maine, USA (44o35' N., 68o06' W); collected by E.C. Uebel, identified by Dr. Irwin Brodo (No. U-515, 11 Jul 2005).

Online References:

Stephen Sharnoff Photography

The Stridvall Family Domain

Alan Silverside's Lichen Pages on LastDragon.org

Wikimedia Commons



Walewski, Joe, Lichens of the North Woods, Kollath+Stensaas Publishing, 2007, p. 100


Mycoblastus sanguinarius description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Mycoblastus sanguinarius (bloody heart lichen, blood lichen)

1 · 4/3/2010 · Birch Point Beach State Park, Owl’s Head, Maine · ≈ 4 × 6″ (10 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain