The Christmas Wreath Lichen

This is a common lichen here in Florida. It grows on the trunks of oaks, cypress and palm trees. Another common name for it is baton rouge lichen a French term for red stick.  Some tree trunks become so covered with this fiery red lichen that they look like large red sticks. This species (Cyptothecia […]

Lichens – Cuisine for Reindeer

The caribou, also called the reindeer, is a herbivore. During the summer it eats willows and the abundant grasses and flowering plants on the tundra. Winter frost and snow kill the herbaceous plants and cover low growing shrubs cutting off an important food source for the caribou. This large hoofed animal is capable of sniffing […]

Lichens – Litmus for Air Quality

Each spring, the parula warbler constructs nests made of bearded lichen in the mature forests of northern U.S. and southern Canada. This lichen is so important to the nesting success of this bird that when the lichen disappeared because of air pollution in the mid 1900’s, it stressed the populations of this tree top warbler. […]

Lichens – The First Pioneers

One of the most active volcanoes of the world, the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii frequently erupts  with lava flows to the ocean. The lava hardens into new land where forces began to break down the igneous rock into a hospitable place for plants to grow. In addition to the physical forces of weathering, lichens contribute […]

Fifty Shades of Green

The winter woodlands is a dismal place with lifeless trees and shrubs, dried dead flowers and grasses and exposed decaying leaf litter and twigs. If you look beyond this bleak landscape, you will discover an intriguing world of plant-like organisms called lichens inhabiting the nooks and crannies of tree bark, fallen branches and boulders. Although […]