This article describes a 6-yr study of the radial growth rates (RGR, mm yr−1) of Rhizocarpon section Rhizocarpon thalli on a talus slope at Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Range, Washington State, United States (47°27′N; 121°26′W). At the end of the growth period, 32 of a total of 39 thalli had exhibited a positive RGR, and 7 of a total of 39 thalli showed no measurable growth. Mean RGR of all thalli was 0.07 mm yr−1 (range, 0–0.19 mm, SD = 0.06). Analysis of variance suggested no significant variation in RGR in successive growth periods, but significant differences were present both within and between thalli. The slope of a boulder facet did not influence RGR, but growth was affected by aspect, the least growth being observed on north-northwest facets. A plot of RGR against thallus diameter revealed a wide scatter of data points with little evidence for a significant change in growth with thallus size. Hence, the study showed that the RGR of Rhizocarpon thalli at Snoqualmie is extremely slow and highly variable and significantly less than estimates based on lichenometry. To determine the growth curve of a yellow-green Rhizocarpon by direct measurement at such a site would require a large sample of thalli and careful standardization of the species studied, the aspect conditions under which the thalli were measured, and the initial hypothallus width of the thalli.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4