A Walk in the Woods - A Look at Lichens
Bushy Cord Lichen, Usnea subfloridana
If you've ever noticed and wondered about a mysterious plant which grows from trees, you've just meet and been introduced to a wonderful field of nature – the strange and distinctive world of lichens.

One of the main ingredients for healthy lichens is a non-polluted area. Like canaries in coal mines were able to warn of dangerous gases, so too the lichen is a measure of air quality.
Usnea filipendula   Cladina portentosa ssp. pacifica   Antlered Perfume Lichen
Many different species of lichen make use of trees for their survival and hang from twigs and branches. Usnea filipendula on the left, Cladina portentosa ssp. pacifica in the centre and the Antlered Perfume Lichen, Evernia prunastri, are only three of them.

Others use trees in different ways such as wrapping themselves directly around the tree or its branches.  The variety of shapes and colours seem as diverse as in a garden of flowers.
It is always a thrill to spot something unique.  For example, capturing the fruits of lichens just at the right time as in the case of the image on the right.


As the seasons pass lichens too change. Close observations can reveal such things as the different colours of the fruit that add a little something extra to the scene.

On a single branch or the smallest twig, you might find a whole miniature garden of amazing shapes.
The variety of fruiting specimens is well worth the effort needed to seek out these strange formations.

Peculiar arrangements of the dots appear on a variety of lichens, adding to the fascination of these plants. 

It is easy to miss many of these interesting patterns as they are on the reverse side.
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