The centres of thalli of Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh. ex Ach.) Ach. were removed, the major lobes were separated from each other and from the substratum, and then the lobes were glued back together in their original configuration. The mean radial growth, the pattern of seasonal growth, and the degree of variation in growth between lobes of the reconstructed thalli, were similar to those of control thalli. When lobes were removed from thalli and glued apart from one another, the pattern of seasonal growth and the degree of variation in lobe growth were unaffected, but annual growth rates were reduced compared with lobes reconstructed into a thallus. Glueing the lobes together in a different configuration and constructing thalli in which each lobe came from a different ‘donor’ thallus did not influence the mean radial growth of the lobes or the degree of variation in lobe growth. These results suggest that although major lobes of P. conspersa are influenced by the proximity of their neighbours there is little chemical exchange between them. In addition, some thalli may form as a result of the fusion of lobes or propagules derived from different individuals.