Montana Outdoors

February 6, 2018

Rhizoplaca & Candelariella?

Filed under: Lichens — Tags: , , — montucky @ 11:10 pm

Along an old road on which I walk very often there are remnants of a rock wall, probably built by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930’s when the road was a US highway through northwest Montana leading to Idaho and on to Washington state (US 10A). Over the years the rocks in the wall have become the homes of many species of lichens and add bright splashes of color, very welcome in winter.

One of the aspects of lichens that makes them largely ignored is that many are so small that their details can hardly be seen by the unaided eye even though a large number of them growing together may provide a pleasant color in their surroundings.

I was considering that today when I passed this section of the wall which contained a rock which is about a half foot tall and a foot wide, a large section of which is colored gold by a lichen colony.

Rock wall, circa 1930

Here is a closer look at that rock and you can more easily see a small circle of another species of lichen in the lower left.

Candelariella rosulans

An even closer look in which you can begin to see the individual lichens in the circle.

Lichen-covered rock

And a close-up of the colony in the circle (which I believe to be Rhizoplaca melanophthalma lichens).

Lichens ~ Rhizoplaca melanophthalma?

And finally a close-up of some of the lichens in the gold colored section (which I believe are Candelariella rosulans).

Lichens ~ Candelariella rosulans?

While lichens are not true “species” in the conventional meaning of the word because each lichen is a composite of a fungus and an alga, they are categorized similarly and I’ve read that there are up to 25,000 “species” or “mutualisms” of them worldwide. It’s understandable but a little sad that most of them are either overlooked or ignored.

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36 Comments »

  1. Nice post about what eyes and cameras don’t see.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — February 7, 2018 @ 12:16 am

    • The longer I live the more things I find that I’ve never seen before. There’s really no end to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 7, 2018 @ 12:31 am

  2. Lichens are awesome, and often ignored! These were beautiful. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sara Moore — February 7, 2018 @ 12:20 am

  3. So appreciate how you expand and enhance my world. Thank You.

    n 2018-02-06 22:10, Montana Outdoors wrote: > montucky posted: “Along an old road on which I walk very often there > are remnants of a rock wall, probably built by men in the Civilian > Conservation Corps in the early 1930’s when the road was a US > highway through northwest Montana leading to Idaho and on to > Washington sta” > >

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by dolores — February 7, 2018 @ 12:29 am

    • I’m glad that you enjoy these posts. Thanks for letting me know!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 7, 2018 @ 12:36 am

  4. It is nice & fun to “see” what most people would just walk by and never notice!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Reed Andariese — February 7, 2018 @ 1:51 am

    • There always seems to be something interesting in the outdoors when you can look closely at it. Now, understanding what I’m seeing is another thing.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 7, 2018 @ 10:36 am

  5. The more you look the more you see OR as Henry David Thoreau wrote…

    “It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.”

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — February 7, 2018 @ 4:46 am

    • True, and for many reasons we each see things a little differently.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 7, 2018 @ 10:37 am

  6. Interesting. I like lichen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by bentehaarstad — February 7, 2018 @ 5:14 am

  7. I do enjoy lichens. Although I’ve probably done my share of walking by unseeing. I’d also like to tip my hat to the CCC. They did a lot of work for this country. Much of it in national parks. Another thing that often goes unseen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pat — February 7, 2018 @ 6:35 am

    • I enjoy seeing lichen although I really know little about them. They don’t get the attention that many other living things do.
      Yes, many of the things that were done by the CCC have lasted a very long time. I’m surprised that this particular wall have been there for nearly a century.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 7, 2018 @ 10:42 am

  8. Enjoyed the pictures and explanation and learned something. Thanks for sharing, Ron.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Ron Mangels — February 7, 2018 @ 8:34 am

  9. Starting at a distance and then coming in closer and closer is a good approach for something so small.

    When we spent a day in Chicago’s Field Museum in 2016 I was pleased to find a room dedicated to the work of two lichenologists:

    https://www.fieldmuseum.org/at-the-field/exhibitions/lichens-coolest-things-youve-never-heard

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — February 7, 2018 @ 11:49 am

  10. hi, Terry:

    At least you are not overlooking these delights of Mother Nature. Thank you.

    Chad

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Anonymous — February 7, 2018 @ 12:44 pm

  11. I like the way you zoomed us in to show us these things as if we were there, bending over for a better look with a magnifying glass. Another amazing world exists there, in miniature.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 7, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

  12. Though the apothecia on the orange rock posy (Rhizoplaca melanophthalma) look a little pale I think that must be it. The western range is certainly correct.
    The Candelariella rosulans looks right too but it looks like it could also be Candelariella vitellinia. I love how it looks like it’s dripping down the stone. It has great color!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — February 7, 2018 @ 3:39 pm

  13. It’s nice when people stop to check on us, isn’t it? Getting up close and personal with these little gems can put us in positions that could suggest everything from a heart attack to a tumble. I’ve never come across the word “mutualisms,” but it’s perfect. The complexity of these is fascinating, and the variety is a little daunting. I like the way the lichen is following the cracks in the rock in the second photo. They are living organisms, after all — even though I suspect we often see them simply as color patches.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — February 7, 2018 @ 11:26 pm

    • I suspect the exact function of lichens in the balance of nature is little understood, despite the fact that their history on the planet goes back perhaps 400 million years.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 7, 2018 @ 11:51 pm

  14. The rock wall alone is interesting historically but the lichen make it even more so with their colors and texture.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — February 9, 2018 @ 10:26 pm

    • The presence of a large colony like that tend to suggest durability or longevity of the wall. I hope it continues.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 10:39 pm

  15. I wonder why they are overlooked? Lichen on trees always catches my eye .. especially in my orchard 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — February 12, 2018 @ 12:47 pm

    • Many of these species grow low on rocks and they are so small they are hard to see.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 12, 2018 @ 5:49 pm

  16. Excellent! I loved Your findings. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — February 13, 2018 @ 1:36 am

  17. Well done with the clarity you captured, not easy. They are beautiful, both from a distance and certainly up close.
    I have been thinking of doing a post on some orange lichen I have looking at. Looks so similar to these up close.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — February 14, 2018 @ 4:05 pm

    • I’m not very skilled at identifying lichens, and there are so many different species!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 14, 2018 @ 7:55 pm


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