• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • VUPreliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Punctelia appalachensis (W.L. Culb.) Krog

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Scientific name
Punctelia appalachensis
(W.L. Culb.) Krog
Common names
Appalachian speckled shield
IUCN Specialist Group
Assessment status
Preliminary Assessed
Preliminary Category
Proposed by
Rebecca Yahr
James Lendemer, Corina Vernon
Comments etc.
Rebecca Yahr

Assessment Notes


Punctelia appalachensis is a distinctive macrolichen endemic to the Appalachian-Great Lakes regions of eastern North America. The AOO has declined 25% over the last three generations but it is known from more than ten locations and the population is naturally fragmented in disjunct montane habitats. The population is estimated to consists of fewer than 10,000 individuals and to have declined 26% in the last three generations.

Taxonomic notes

The species was formally described by Culberson (1961) in the genus Parmelia based on collections that made since 1837. Since its description Punctelia appalachensis has been consistently recognized and treated as distinct. Due to its size and abundance in the habitats where it occurs, the species is easily recognized and included in many field guides (Brodo et al. 2001, Hinds & Hinds 2008, Tripp & 2020). While there are other sympatric Punctelia species in the they are morphologically distinct and not likely to be confused with P. appalachensis.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Geographic range

Punctelia appalachensis ranges across northern temperate habitats in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia south to Georgia and west into the Great Lakes basin (Brodo et al. 2001). It has an Appalachian-Great Lakes biogeographic pattern and is most common in the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge ecoregions of the southeastern United States (Brodo et al. 2001).

Population and Trends

The population size and range of Punctelia appalachensis has declined over the last three generations. The area of occurrence (AOO) has decreased 25% from 1,292 km2 historically to 968 km2 at present. While the AOO is below 2000 km2, which would meet the B2 criterion for Vulnerable there are over 10 extant locations, and while the population is naturally fragmented in disjunct high elevation elevations, it has not become heavily fragmented from anthropogenic disturbance or other habitat changes. The declines documented in the past are inferred to be continuous into the future due to ongoing loss of habitat, accelerated forest fragmentation, and decline of suitable tree species due to invasive species.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Punctelia appalachensis is a bark dwelling species found in temperate regions, occurring mostly in deciduous forests in inland northern hardwood and Appalachian hardwood forests, with a disjunction in the Great Lakes region of eastern North America (Hinds & Hinds 2008, Tripp & Lendemer 2020).

Temperate Forest


Due to the naturally fragmented and disjunct population, the largest threat to Punctelia appalachensis is loss of habitat through deforestation and forest fragmentation. Increased development of roads and housing, along with declining oak species due to increased drought conditions, invasive insects (Lymantria dispar dispar, spongy moth) and expansion of native boring insects (Red oak borer, Enaphalodes rufulus) all contribute to declining habitat and suitable substrates.

Housing & urban areasRoads & railroadsUnintentional effects: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]Named speciesNamed species

Conservation Actions

Raising awareness, education, incorporating the species into management plans, and increased site protection are all needed to conserve Punctelia appalachensis and its habitat.

Site/area protectionResource & habitat protectionTrainingAwareness & communications

Research needed

Detailed population and demographic studies are needed, along with monitoring and assessment of habitat trends and potential rapid declines in suitable substrates to due impacts from native and non-native insect species.

Population size, distribution & trendsPopulation trendsHabitat trends

Use and Trade

Punctelia appalachensis is collected for scientific study and does not have any other documented uses.




Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted