Nash, T.H., Ryan, B.D., Gries, C., Bungartz, F., (eds.) 2002. Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region. Vol 1.
Thallus: small fruticose cushions (up to 5 mm wide and 3 mm high), lobules terete, (60-) 75-150 µm thick, irregularly to subdichotomously branched, usually not densely aggregated, apices often swollen surface: blackish red with dark brown-red tinge (lighter when moist), smooth but often covered by numerous tiny, short side branches (50-75 µm thick) causing a rough appearance of the lobules substrate attachment: by small holdfast Apothecia: on swollen tips of lobules, lecanorine, small (up to 0.3 mm wide), with persisting thalline margin that is often warty or may support tiny side branches; disc: dark red- brown, punctiform, later open; exciple: lacking; hymenium: up to 100 µm high, hyaline, non-amyloid; paraphyses: distinctly septate, thin, sparingly branched and anastomosing, apical cells not thickened asci: 8-spored ascospores: simple, hyaline, ellipsoid, 10-15 x 5 µm; walls: thin Pycnidia: immersed, at swollen lobe tips, globose, up to 0.075 mm in diam. conidia: cylindrical, 3 x 1 µm Spot tests: all negative Secondary metabolites: none detected. Substrate and ecology: on siliceous, volcanic, or calcareous rocks; lowland to montane World distribution: SW North America and Neotropics Sonoran distribution: Baja California and Baja California Sur, Sonora and Sinaloa; rarely in central and southern Arizona (probably overlooked). Notes: At lower magnification (5-10x) the aggregated cushions seem to form a ± areolate crust. Similar "crusts" forms Lichinella stipatula that has lobules of the same size, but a very different ascocarp ontogeny. Closer examination will reveal the small fruticose growth habit of both species. Lichinella stipatula has photobiont cells with a thin (-2.5 µm) yellowish brown gelatinous sheath, a more compact anatomy with a fountain-like arrangement of the hyphae, polysporous asci with broad ellipsoid spores and a hymenium that is covered with portions of lichen tissue (thallinocarps). Synalissa symphorea has larger, thicker, club-shapes lobes and polysporous asci.