Six on Saturday – Lichen

This week I’ve continued with the #January Lights challenge and one of my photos was of lichen bathed in a rare moment of sunlight on a tree trunk. Having chosen this picture, I sought out information about lichens and decided to see if I could identify five more to photograph and feature on SoS today. As a result, here are my six for this week:

This bright yellow powder-like lichen is called Candelariella reflexa and ranges from dull green through to the vibrant colouration in this example. I chose this for the #JanuaryLights challenge not only for the sunlight beaming on it, but also for its name’s connection to light.

I’n not sure whether this is moss or a lichen called usnea subfloridana. If it is the lichen, it’s bushy appearance certainly justifies the colloquial name of ‘old man’s beard’. Like many lichens, it is more commonly seen on the smaller branches.

Found on acidic bark, hypnogymnia physodes, known as monk’s hood lichen, is nitrogen pollution sensitive. As such, this foliose lichen is not commonly found in highly polluted areas.

On a bench encircling a tree in Walsall Arboretum, there are at least 3 different lichens in this colourful patchwork, the yellow Xanthoria parietina and two I can’t identify.

Xanthoria parietina, with a common name of yellow scale is prominent on this fallen branch, however it has companions – Flavoparmelia caperata (seen below) and patches of a crustose off white lichen – another that I haven’t been able to identify.

Flavoparmelia caperata is a a foliose lichen commonly found on tree trunks.

I’ve enjoyed my lichen hunt and attempts to identify the six I’ve featured today. They are fascinating organisms and according to sources I’ve found, there are at least 20,000 different types. I couldn’t possibly do the subject justice here, but there’s plenty of information on the web for those who wish to find out more – for starters on the Woodland Trust‘s website.

That’s my choice for this week, I’d recommend a visit to the home of SoS for more at:

12 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Lichen

  1. Ann Mackay says:

    Interesting! We had a lot of lichens growing on our trees when I was a kid and I remember being told that it was a sign of clean air. (Far north of Scotland.) There were lots of others on other surfaces too, but I never knew their names, just that you had to look very closely to tell the difference. I’m glad to say that there are lichens growing here too. 🙂

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  2. Jim Stephens says:

    I followed your link to the Woodland Trust and immediately recognized the first picture, of usnea subfloridana, as something there’s masses of on trees around the fringes of Bodmin Moor. Great, I now know what it is. I’m afraid it makes your second picture a moss though. I quite often take pictures of lichens, or lichen covered surfaces of one sort or another. I don’t usually try to put names to things like that because I forget them so quickly it doesn’t seem worth it. They’re fascinating though.

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  3. Lora Hughes says:

    I would love to see that monk’s hood lichen & shall keep an eye for it when out walking. I always thought lichen on trees had something to do with direction of sun, but the clean air makes absolute sense.


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