Bryoria smithii

Description & Identification

A fruticose species with long (4-7 cm., occasionally longer) cylindrical branches, ca. 1mm diam. and dark-brown to black in colour (but the tips paler). Lateral spinules 2-7mm long are numerous, arising at right-angles to the main stems.  Soralia are present arising from pseudocyphellae. Soredia are often sparse, but a characterisic of the species is that they are mixed with short spinules arising in tufts from the soralia.  Apothecia and pycnidia are unknown. 

Chemical Tests: C-, K-, KC-, Pd-

Photo: Clifford Smith

Similar Species

This is a well-defined species characterised by its soredia mixed with short spinules and the Pd- chemical reaction. It most resembles B. bicolor, but that species lacks soralia, is Pd+ red and rarely grows on trees.


On ancient trees of Quercus robur in sheltered but rather well-lit situations. Also occasionally on rocks.


Scandinavia, , C. Europe, Asia, Hawaii. S.W. England (Devon and Dartmoor). According to the lichen flora (2009) probably extinct in Scotland and Wales.

Records from Wales
Location Grid Reference Last Rec'd Recorder(s) SSSI
Caernarfon: "New Glyder" SH 65 1788   ?
Caernarfon:  SH 87 1960 Unknown ?
Meirionydd: Moel y Ffridd SH 54 1923 D.A. Jones ?
Meirionydd: Llyn Bodlyn SH 62 1877 T. Salwey No
Meirionydd: "Lake above Llyn Bodlyn" SH 62 1862 W. Borrer No
Meirionydd: Cwm Mawr SH 635 319 1959 S.A. Manning Yes?


Notes on individual locations

"Lake above Llyn Bodlyn" - this could be Llyn Dulyn at SH 662 244

"Moel y Ffridd" - I've scanned by eye SH54 in 0S 1:10,000 map in Mapinfo but couldn't find Moel y Ffridd (Alan Hale).

"New Glyder" - "on montane boulders



Proposed Actions

UKBAP Signposting Actions:

1. Welsh sites need to be visited and the species searched for. Also, continue a follow-up to monitor the B. smithii sites at Black Tor Copse - very important, as these seem to be the last surviving populations known at present.
2. Monitor habitat and species, at least every 6 years, at extant sites to ensure that nitrogen deposition is controlled and that boulders are not shaded to to low grazing levels.

Hectad Distribution in Wales/Link to full BLS map

Bryoria smithii

NBN Taxon Key