In my wanderings on a rainy day last week I encountered an area along a creek in a very narrow canyon where the rocks and cliffs were simply covered with moss and lichens. I personally know very little about most lichens, but thought someone might be interested in seeing them and so I am posting the following photos with no narrative except a possible identification of two of the lichen species.
I’m sorry that I know so little about them, although I think I have a lot of company there. One would think that they would be studied more than they are because some of them can live for up to 10,000 years.
I see lots of lichens, far more than wildflowers, but for some reason I just haven’t become familiar with most of them. Must be a mind set based on flowers and other plants. I also haven’t studied mosses although I see lots of them too.
Beautiful photos! These are exactly the things that Colin likes to photograph. He ends up with very wet knees! We don’t know much about lichens either, I think you have done well to name those few. But they are extremely beautiful, and there seem to be many varieties here in Scotland too.
Lobaria amplissima is one of the lungworts and much more branched and “crinkly.” What you have is rock tripe (Umbilicaria mammulata.) The first part of the scientific name comes from the way these likchens attach themselves to rocks at a single point that resembles a human navel, or umbilical cord.This leads to another common name of “navel lichen.” you can see this feature clearly in your 9th photo from the top.
The underside of these lichens is black and you’ll see small round bumps called papillae. The second part of the scientific name refers to these bumps that someone thought resembled human breasts.
These lichens like moist places and even grow where water constanly drips down rock faces. When i see them in the woods they tell me that there is some kind of water source nearby-even a pond, stream, or lake that raises the humidity is enough. When they dry out they get as crisp as a potato chip. Nice shots!
Thank you for the correction! These were growing in exactly the kind of place you described. There are lots of places like that here where there are very deep canyons with small streams in them. That’s probably why there is usually some kind of moss along with them.
What terrific variety there is. And the structures in some of the first photos are amazing. The rock tripe looks almost like leather, and the green “branchy things” in the first photo are just cute. They look like miniature Christmas trees. I didn’t know until fairly recently that squirrels adore fungi, and will store varieties of them for winter food. New Hampshire Gardener’s comment about them getting crisp as potato chips when they dry out may help to explain why. Squirrels may like to snack, too!
Yes, there is incredible variety in lichens. They are on nearly all of the rocks I see and most of the trees in the roadless areas where there is still old growth forest. The mosses are fascinating too.
About 20 years ago I had a winter-long feud with a squirrel who insisted that our little pump house was his winter abode and that it should be filled with food items including many pounds of fungi.
You know, I usually don’t regret having gotten old, but when I consider things like lichens and mosses and fungi and wildflowers and realize how little I know about them I wish I were at least 30 years younger so I would have longer to study them.
Sometimes I get to thinking that I belong to a superior species, and then I realize how much the wild creatures of the forests know about the plant life that surrounds them, what is good to eat and what isn’t and how little I know about the same array of life forms, it puts me back in my place.
Nothing like wet lichen and moss for perfect photos! Lichen. of course is a composite organism between fungus (providing structure) and a photosynthetic algae or bacteria, providing energy. One of nature’s finest miracles!
They are miracles. They thrive where most other life forms couldn’t live and so many are very beneficial. Hair lichens are very abundant here and I know many deer and elk survive tough winters because of them.
Terrific photographs Terry. It’s been a while since I visited ‘Montana Outdoors’ and now I’m kicking myself! You’ve captured so many species of fungi, lichen and other microflora growing on these rocks. Great colours, great shots!
[…] see scenics, river pictures, and hundreds of wildflowers. Most recently, he showed us the beauty of Lichens and moss. Montucky makes frequent posts, and I have found a lot of serenity in stopping by his blog of late […]
they have a visual beauty all of their own.. .I have something vaguely similar to the red pointy one (’tis a technical term *cough* ;-) ) .. … on my rock garden, mayhap it’s a distant relative, .I think it’s called a sea cabbage?…. whatever it is, it’s gorgeous….xPenx
(dropping by via other sites.. and hoping not to slip ont’ wet rocks!!)