Umbilicaria mammulata ( Smooth Rock Tripe )

The name “Umbilicaria” refers to the central depression or “belly button” that is characteristic of this genus. The upper surface is usually some shade of green, often with hints of yellow or red, and very smooth. Other species of rock tripe will have bumps and pits and more texture. However this one as it’s common name suggests will be quite smooth. The underside is pitch black and anything but smooth. Instead, it is very highly textured. It can be found growing on the sides of rock and ledges, which we have no shortage of in Connecticut. It also grows in large patches of many individuals, stretching several feet in either direction or covering the entire area of exposed rock, and is easily seen from far away. So, it’s highly likely that if you’ve been hiking in Connecticut, that you have seen this or another species of rock tripe before. There are many similar rock trip species, but again, this one can be can be distinguished from the others by its smooth upper surface combine with the highly textured black undersides.