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Alectoria nigricans

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[“Gray witch’s hair”]

FOLK NAMES: Tingaujaq [name also applied to other “caribou moss”, Alectoria ochroleuca, Bryocaulon divergens, and Bryoria nitidula] (Barrens-Keewatin, Baffin Island, Ungava-Labrador, and Greenland Inuit); Tingaujaq [name probably also applied to other “dry black moss”, Bryocaulon divergens and Bryoria nitidula] (North Slope Inuit)

USES: Animal feed (Barrens-Keewatin, Baffin Island, Ungava-Labrador, and Greenland Inuit), Tinder (North Slope Inuit)

Alectoria nigricans, Alectoria ochroleuca, Bryocaulon divergens, and Bryoria nitidula were called Tingaujaq by the Barrens-Keewatin, Baffin Island, Ungava-Labrador, and Greenland Inuit of the North American arctic (Wilson, 1979). These lichens were known to be the favorite food of young caribou, and children would use them to lure in fawns so that they could touch them (Wilson, 1979). The North Slope Inuit from the north coast of Alaska call a “dry black moss” (probably Alectoria nigricans, Bryocaulon divergens, and/or Bryoria nitidula) by the same name, and they used it as tinder (Wilson, 1979).

Alectoria nigricans contains alectorialic acid, and may also contain thamnolic and barbatolic acid (Brodo and Hawksworth 1977).

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