Thallus: moderately to loosely adnate, appressed throughout or somewhat reflexed at the periphery, foliose, up to 9 cm diam., lobate lobes: short and rounded to somewhat elongate, discrete to subimbricate, 2-4 mm broad, ± flat upper surface: olive-brown to darker reddish brown, smooth to weakly pitted at the periphery, inward often more coarsely rugose; dull throughout or often somewhat shiny near the lobe-ends, sometimes with a few scattered cortical hairs, especially on or near the lobe margins, without typical pseudocyphellae, but lobe edges at times with linear, sometimes pale, pseudocyphelloid abrasions (like those of M. glabra) soredia: granular, whitish or darkening to brown and becoming isidioid, in marginal and distinctly labriform soralia lower surface: dark brown to black, generally with a paler zone at the periphery, 5-6 x 1µm, ± smooth to weakly rugulose, mostly dull; moderately rhizinate, the rhizines ± concolorous with the lower surface Apothecia: not seen Pycnidia: not seen Spot tests: upper cortex K-, C-, KC-, P-, HNO3-; medulla K-, C+ rose-red or red, KC+ red, P- Secondary metabolite: lecanoric acid. Substrate: bark, or occasionally on rocks among mosses World distribution: western and northern North America, Mongolia, Siberia Sonoran distribution: known only from a single rather sparse collection on rock at 3,000 m in the Mt. Baldy Wilderness Area (Apache Co., Arizona). Notes: When poorly developed, this species can be confused with the related M. subargentifera, which differs by having both laminal and marginal soralia. The marginal soralia of M. subargentifera occasionally become reflexed, but are never distinctly labriform like those of M. albertana. Melanelia albertana also seems to consistently lack the pruina that are so common (but not universal) in M. subargentifera.