Montana Outdoors

January 24, 2018

Family portraits

Filed under: Lichens, Winter — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:18 pm

On a walk today I noticed some Pixie-cup lichens that were making their homes on a small stack of rocks. They were growing in small groups spread well apart and reminded me of families that might have gathered to have family portraits taken.

Pixie-cup lichen

Pixie-cup lichen

Pixie-cup lichen

Pixie-cup lichen

Pixie-cup lichen

Pixie-cup lichen

Pixie-cup lichen

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41 Comments »

  1. So right! Just like family portrait time. What an absolutely perfect rock garden this is. Love the arrangement and colours. A person could never get it to look this good. Nature does.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 24, 2018 @ 8:56 pm

    • Nature is the ultimate gardener. I’m constantly amazed that so many of the life forms whose foremost concern is simply existing can produce so much beauty of form and color.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 24, 2018 @ 9:06 pm

      • So true. So simple, but somehow they look exotic.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 24, 2018 @ 9:08 pm

        • The tiny world beneath our feet can be as pretty as the larger one to which we pay the most attention.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — January 24, 2018 @ 9:40 pm

          • Some of the mosses are very interesting when you look at them up close. It’s like a miniature forest.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 26, 2018 @ 4:14 pm

            • And they have so much diversity in size, shape, color and texture. They have an interesting little world all to themselves and still seem to get along with the lichens and other tiny forms.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — January 26, 2018 @ 7:34 pm

  2. Amazing shots of such small things! You captured such detail, love it! Funny, the tall ones almost look like golf tees. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by bayphotosbydonna — January 24, 2018 @ 9:07 pm

    • They do look very much like golf tees. The tallest in any of these groups is about half an inch. What astonishes me most perhaps is all of the color. Even at a range as close as three feet, where the shapes can be seen by the un-aided eye, they seem to be drab, but the very close look that the lens provides shows a bright, colorful little garden. (I did no color enhancing at all on any of these photos.)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 24, 2018 @ 9:47 pm

  3. Amazing world down under our feet. With your close-ups, it truly looks like a beautifully designed garden, full of colour, shape and textures.
    What are those little green and brown things with the fine white threads poking out of them in the second image? They look like something you’d find in a rock pool down by the beach.
    Lovely images and I daresay a nice change from the white snow blanket of winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — January 24, 2018 @ 10:44 pm

    • I especially enjoy the cup and club lichens because they seem to have a relationship with many species of moss, one of which is what you asked about. I’m not sophisticated enough to identify it though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 24, 2018 @ 11:18 pm

  4. What a lovely idea! Always worth stopping for lichens – they are so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — January 25, 2018 @ 1:58 am

  5. So neat! I’m surprised there’s no snow!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by heartandsoul974 — January 25, 2018 @ 6:13 am

    • It has been warm lately and the south facing slopes are bare in many places, which is good for the wildlife.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2018 @ 10:33 am

      • Ok, that’s interesting. We’ve had a couple days of forties temperatures and rain but believe it or not, we still have a few feet of snow!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by heartandsoul974 — January 25, 2018 @ 2:40 pm

  6. Yep, I see it! Mom, Pop, and the kids and maybe Grandma and Grandpa in there for good measure. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — January 25, 2018 @ 7:53 am

    • That’s just what I was thinking when I started looking at them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2018 @ 10:34 am

  7. What a great mini-world.

    I like the thick veggie burger in the upper right of the first photograph.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — January 25, 2018 @ 11:10 am

    • Yes, when lichens like a place they can really cover it.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2018 @ 11:13 am

  8. Terry:

    Of course, you’ll have to give each family member a name.

    Chad

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Anonymous — January 25, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

    • That will take awhile, and the “face recognition” feature of iPhoto won’t help either.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2018 @ 6:08 pm

  9. Great shots of those tiny pixie cups! People are always surprised by how small they are when they see them for the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — January 25, 2018 @ 4:33 pm

    • Yes, they are tiny. I’m thankful for digital photography and a good lens!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 25, 2018 @ 6:09 pm

  10. Amazing how many small worlds exist in our big world and are overlooked by most people. Such pretty little things.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — January 26, 2018 @ 10:52 am

    • Yes, they are mostly overlooked, but they are also so tiny that the un-aided eye can scarcely make them out, much less see all of the details.They almost make one believe in the stories of fairies and elves!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 26, 2018 @ 11:26 am

  11. I like the explosion of star-shaped plants — mosses, maybe? — that surround them. The number of shapes in just these photos is remarkable. I started wondering how many species of lichens there are in the world, and from what I read the answer seems to be five million, give or take. In the process, I came across this interesting article about the formation of lichens. I don’t understand all of it, but I understand enough to realize that these tiny organisms are even more complex than scientists have understood. I love seeing their world.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — January 26, 2018 @ 9:25 pm

    • Thank you for the link: that is more new information to me.

      I’ve observed that the “club” growth form of lichens, as these are, are always accompanied by at least several species of moss, making me wonder if perhaps they have developed a relationship of some kind too.

      Here is a photo of the approximately 1.5′ X 2′ cluster of rocks upon which these “families” are living. On these rocks are at least dozens of other species and growth forms of lichens. It is not difficult to believe that there are probably 5 million different species world-wide.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 26, 2018 @ 10:38 pm

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    Like

    Comment by Mahika — January 27, 2018 @ 10:02 am

  13. the magical tiny world of lichen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — January 27, 2018 @ 1:09 pm

    • They show us something: I wonder if they are trying to tell us something,

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 27, 2018 @ 9:09 pm

  14. These are beautiful – and wonderfully strange! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Val — January 28, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

  15. Yes! Another world! You know, our seeing is so conditioned to what we already know that most of the time we don’t even see these worlds. So, this is the art of making the strange and the unknown visible.
    Ellington

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Arletta Ellington — January 29, 2018 @ 3:04 pm

    • Exactly! I am grateful for digital photography and macro lenses! They open up these tiny but beautiful worlds.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 29, 2018 @ 4:17 pm

  16. Awesome findings in my eyes. Never seen them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — January 30, 2018 @ 3:30 am

    • I don’t know if this species lives in your area. They are very small and nearly always overlooked by anyone who has not been aware of them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — January 30, 2018 @ 10:48 am

  17. Great photos! They sure could be a family …πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — January 31, 2018 @ 12:12 am

    • It’s interesting that they grow like that. I suppose it’s just that there are sections of those rocks are “family oriented”.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 31, 2018 @ 12:20 am

  18. How interesting and varied Mother Nature’s imagination is. There seems to be no end to attempts to mix new colors and shapes together. The lichens have surprises, and so do ocean creatures, We collect salt water fish and the colors, shapes and designs amaze us. I have a few examples on my blog in the post called “Fish Ahoy.” Enjoy those ocean swimmers.

    Like

    Comment by morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer — January 31, 2018 @ 10:12 pm

  19. They’re so…adorable. Who would’ve thought lichen could be cute?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Abby Jewett — February 5, 2018 @ 10:19 pm

    • Maybe that is where some of the tales of miniature worlds came from. They do stir the imagination. (Or at least change the perspective.)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 6, 2018 @ 12:17 am


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