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Cladonia

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Cladonia spp.

[Pixie cup lichens]

FOLK NAMES: Pen’pen’emekxísxn’ [lit. “liver on rock”; name probably also applied to any lichen that looked similar to Cladonia chlorophaea] (Okanagan-Colville)

USES: Medicine (Okanagan-Colville)

Cladonia chlorophaea and other cup lichens were used as medicine by the Okanagan-Colville. The entire lichen was boiled and the solution was used externally to wash sores which were slow to heal (Turner et al. 1980).

Burkholder et al. tested a wide variety of Cladonia species for antibiotic properties, and found that the crude extracts of many of them inhibited the growth of some bacteria. The Cladonia species that had antibiotic properties were (parenthesis following lichen name indicate lichen substances present as according to Brodo et al. 2001).:

Cladonia atlantica (baeomycesic and squamatic acid),

Cladonia caespiticia (fumarprotocetraric acid),

Cladonia capitata,

Cladonia caroliniana (usnic and squamatic acid),

Cladonia coniocraea (fumarprotocetraric acid),

Cladonia cristatella (usnic, barbatic, and didymic acid),

Cladonia cryptochlorophaea,

Cladonia furcata,

Cladonia glauca (squamatic acid),

Cladonia grayi (grayanic and sometimes protofumarcetraric acid),

Cladonia incrassata (usnic and squamatic acid, sometimes didymic acid),

Cladonia pyxidata (protofumarcetraric acid),

Cladonia rei [syn. Cladonia nemoxyna] (homosekikaic acid and sometimes protofumarcetraric acid),

Cladonia squamosa (squamatic or thamnolic acid),

Cladonia strepsilis (baeomycesic and squamatic acid, often barbatic acid and strepsilin),

Cladonia uncialis (usnic acid, sometimes squamatic acid).

As well, two other Cladoniaceae were found to have antibiotic properties. These include:

Cladina subtenius (usnic and protofumarcetraric acid),

Pycnothelia papillaria [syn. Cladonia papillaria] (atranorin and protolichesterinic acid).


==Cladonia chlorophaea== (Flörke ex Sommerf.) Spreng. [“Mealy pixie-cup”; syn. Cenomyce chlorophaea Flörke ex Sommerf.; Cladonia pyxidata subsp. chlorophaea (Flörke ex Sommerf.) Schaer.; Cladonia pyxidata var. chlorophaea (Flörke ex Sommerf.) Flörke]

FOLK NAMES: Pen’pen’emekxísxn’ [lit. “liver on rock”; name probably also applied to other pixie cup lichens] (Okanagan-Colville)

USES: Medicine (Okanagan-Colville)


Cladonia chlorophaea and other cup lichens were used as medicine by the Okanagan-Colville. The entire lichen was boiled and the solution was used externally to wash sores which were slow to heal (Turner et al. 1980).

Cladonia pyxidata, a closely related lichen growing in the same area, was found by Burkholder et al. (1944) to have antibiotic properties. A crude extract of this lichen inhibited the growth of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Cladonia pyxidata and Cladonia chlorophaea contain the same lichen substance, fumarprotocetraric acid (Brodo et al. 2001). Many other Cladonia species are known to have antibiotic properties. SEE: Cladonia spp.


==Cladonia coccifera== (L.) Willd. [syn. Lichen cocciferus L.; likely syn. genera Pyxidium, Scyphiphorus, Scyphophorus, Scyphophora]

USES: Dye (Europe), Medicine (Europe?)

Cladonia coccifera was used in some parts of Europe as a red-purple dye for wool (Uphof 1959). The Pharmacopoeia Universalis of 1846 lists some medicinal uses for this lichen (Saklani and Upreti 1992). Lindley (1838) records that Scyphophorus cocciferus is an astringent and a febrifugal.

Cladonia coccifera contains zeorin and usnic acid (Brodo et al. 2001). Usnic acid is a known antibiotic. Many Cladonia species are known to have antibiotic properties. SEE: Cladonia spp.


==Cladonia fimbriata== (L.) Fr. [“Trumpet lichen”; syn. Cladonia major, Lichen fimbriatus L.]

USES: Dye (Europe?)

Cladonia fimbriata has been used as red dye for wool (Uphof 1959).

Cladonia fimbriata contains fumarprotocetraric acid (Brodo et al. 2001).


==Cladonia gracilis== (L.) Willd. [“Smooth Cladonia”; syn. Lichen gracilis L.]

USES: Dye (Europe?)

Cladonia gracilis has been used as ash-green dye for wool (Uphof 1959).

Cladonia gracilis contains fumarprotocetraric acid and sometimes atranorin (Brodo et al. 2001).


==Cladonia miniata== G. Mey. [??syn. Cladonia sanguinea Eschw.]

USES: Medicine (Brazil)

NOTE: This lichen does not occur in North America

According to Lindley (1838), people in Brazil considered Cladonia sanguinea to be an excellent remedy for aphthae. It rubbed down with sugar and water before it was used.


==Cladonia pyxidata== (L.) Hoffm. [“Pebbled pixie-cup”; syn. Lichen pyxidatus L.; likely synonymous genera: Pyxidium, Scyphiphorus, Scyphophorus, Scyphophora]

USES: Medicine (Europe?), Dye (Europe?)


The Pharmacopoeia Universalis of 1846 lists some medicinal uses for Cladonia pyxidata (Saklani and Upreti 1992). This lichen has also been used to make ash-green dye for wool (Uphof 1959). Lindley (1838) records that Scyphophorus pyxidatus is an astringent and a febrifugal.

Cladonia pyxidata was found by Burkholder et al. (1944) to have antibiotic properties. A crude extract of this lichen inhibited the growth of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. This lichen contains protofumarcetraric acid (Brodo et al. 2001).

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