Trentepohlia aurea (tentative)

Another thank you to brettf@Flickr for sharing a macro glimpse of an organism (original image). Also, a thank you to GORGEous nature@Flickr for identifying it, since I didn’t know about this organism before today. A second image by Brett can be seen here that gives a more distant perspective. Thank you!

Despite its colour, Trentepohlia is actually a green alga. The chlorophyll pigment is masked by the presence of large amounts of β-carotene, the same photosynthetic pigment that causes the orange colouration of most carrots.

The appearance of Trentepohlia so closely resembles a lichen that it warrants a line in the lichen identification keys for British Columbia – a very astute decision, in my opinion.

Read more about this alga at the University of Paisley’s Biodiversity Reference page for Trentepohlia (includes microscopic photographs photomicrographs!).

Trentepohlia aurea

10 responses to “Trentepohlia aurea (tentative)”

  1. Big Al

    Wot! no a-carotene?

  2. Deborah Lievens

    This is one of my favorite organisms and one that had me mystified for a long time. In the east one of its favorite substrates is red oak. As an amateur botanist, I could never figure out why the “reddish character” of the splits of the bark showed up in quantities and placement that bore no relation to tree size or location. No one could give me an answer until I got into lichenology and found out it was a green algae. I’ll send a picture if I ever figure out the system.

  3. phillip lacock

    …yes…you are right, 3-Cpo, it does appear a wookie has been here recently…
    (any pictures of grapes ?)

  4. Bartolome Ribas

    I found this plant T.aurea, very nice. Could you send me your publications in the same theme.
    Many thanks.

  5. cesar

    hi, my name is cesar betancourt,student of biology in the National University of Colombia. i belong to a research group named “laboratory of In Vitro culture of microalgae”. Recently we colect a sample of Trentepohlia sp. into a Natural park of our country. is possible to exchange info about this algae? i’m really apreciate that. thanks. ¡by the way! my mail is

  6. Wm. J. Dederick

    You mentioned microscopic photographs. Do you mean photomicrographs or very small photos?

  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Yes, yes… photomicrographs.

  8. Hubert SVAB

    What kind of carotens has this organism ? Thanks

  9. Napa

    Hi! I’m a biologist who worked with this algae for years, I have many many information of it, and photos on microscope. If you have any question about it I’ve read a lot of it so you can ask me if you want.

  10. Napa

    It has the same as carrots: β-carotene. If you have any question about this beautiful algae my mail is:

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