Cladonia coccifera s. str.


Cladonia coccifera s. str.

(L.) Willd. s. str. (1787)
Conservation Status
DD ?NS (Key)
BLS Number
A mainly montane species; most records refer to C. diversa
Taxon Photo
General Description

A Red Pixie Cup, a member of the Cladonia coccifera aggregate, which is probably widespread in upland moorland habitats and occasional in high quality lowlands heaths. Separable from the common Cladonia diversa by the wider flaring cups with bullate granules inside the cup and the lack of microsquamules on the podetia. 


Podetia to 3.5 cm tall, yellow-grey to yellow-green; cups broad, gradually tapering to the base with only a short stalk (C. pyxidata-type), usually regular, rarely proliferating from the margins; surface ± corticate but ± areolate throughout, with conspicuous coarse bullate corticate granules, especially within the cups, sometimes ± squamulose at the base; soredia usually absent. Basal squamules to 2 mm diam., very variable, ± rounded and sparingly indented; lower surface often yellow- to orange-brown, K+ purplish towards the base, ± dispersed or occasionally forming ± compact cushions. Apothecia and pycnidia frequent, on the margins of cups, the apothecia red and pycnidia black or reddish and containing red gel. Thallus C–, K–, KC+ yellow, Pd–, UV–. In dried collections, needle-like crystals develop on the surface of collections of the complex containing zeorin. 

In Cladonia coccifera s. str., podetia are regular, continuously corticate but often irregularly granular in the upper part. Squamules are few, and granules ± flattened. In the similar Cladonia borealis, the podetia are smoother, and do not become irregularly granular in the upper part. 


Mainly in upland heath but also species-rich lowland heath.

Distribution Map
Key to map date classes

Occasional, but the distribution needs further study due to confusion with other members of the Cladonia coccifera aggregate.

Threats & Status

Britain: Data Deficient


Pino-Bodas, R., Sanderson, N., Cannon, P., Aptroot, A., Coppins, B., Orange, A. & Simkin, J. (2021). Lecanorales: Cladoniaceae, including the genera Cladonia, Pilophorus and Pycnothelia. Revisions of British and Irish Lichens 19: 1-45.  Link

Text by N A Sanderson, based Pino-Bodas et al (2021)