Ok, so three days, countless emails, numerous visits to lichen sites and general pleas for help and I have — I think — identified this pretty lichen, found at Deep Hollow Pond on a rock in full sun. It’s about softball size.
At last! Three days of searching, emails, endless sites and finally pinned this baby down. Not even sure if it is known to grow around here so gonna check with Morris Arbortorium. the hard part was because the brown “cups” only appear during a reproductive stage and the rest of the time it looks very different.
Oh, and it’s Peppered Rock-Shield Lichen, of which I could find very little information that wasn’t technical so have very little to post about it.
One of the few things I found, and happy to have found it.
The Peppered Rock-Shield Lichen (Xanthoparmelia conspersa) was one of the dominant lichens covering the rocks at Cacapon State Park in West Virginia. The outcropping of large sections of rocks were exposed to direct sun and the lichens and mosses were taking full advantage of it. Before long the trees will leaf out putting many of the lichens and mosses at a sunlight disadvantage. But in winter and early spring lichens and mosses rule the landscape.