Montana Outdoors

February 9, 2018

Pixi-Cups

Filed under: Lichens — Tags: — montucky @ 12:50 pm

Mixed in among the buttercups yesterday there were a few (just a few) Pixie-cup lichens in their fruiting stage.

Pixie Cup Lichen

Pixie Cup Lichen

Pixie Cup Lichen

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38 Comments »

  1. Wonderful shots. These are delightful! I’m sure the pixies are hiding somewhere close by. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pat — February 9, 2018 @ 1:03 pm

    • I hope the pixies have their winter coats on: there is a coat of ice and snow over them today.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 1:08 pm

  2. Berries dusted in icing sugar! How cute this arrangement is. Nature knows best.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 9, 2018 @ 1:40 pm

    • There are all kinds of interesting and pretty arrangements out there. I wonder why the color in those “fruits”: they don’t need pollinating.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

      • Yes, that’s an interesting point.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 9, 2018 @ 4:11 pm

        • Like many other things in nature, I constantly wonder exactly what the bright and unusual colors serve. I suspect they are not just coincidental.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 4:31 pm

          • The Captain suggested it might be meant to do the opposite job. Rather than attract as in flowers, the red colour may be to warn of something toxic. Who knows?! (Even if the “plant” might not be toxic, it would prevent it being eaten as readily.) Just a thought….

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by wordsfromanneli — February 9, 2018 @ 7:08 pm

            • I hadn’t thought about that, but who knows? Other plants and animals produce warning labels. I know so little about lichens. I know that the large wild ungulates feed on a species of horsehair lichen as did some of the indigenous people, but I don’t know if anything feeds on the very tiny ones. I wouldn’t at all be surprised though. I’ve read that several species make a nourishing soup. But, as in the plant kingdom, some species are poisonous.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 7:22 pm

  3. My kind of world expedition.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by bentehaarstad — February 9, 2018 @ 1:49 pm

  4. Very interesting..

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mother Hen — February 9, 2018 @ 2:19 pm

  5. Those are great shots of these tiny lichens. I don’t think many people realize just how small some lichens are.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — February 9, 2018 @ 4:30 pm

  6. What interesting lichens.

    (Excuse my ignorance), but I didn’t know lichens changed like this and had fruit. And red of all colours. They really do stand out, although I daresay they are quite small.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — February 9, 2018 @ 4:58 pm

    • Their “fruit” is actually the fungi reproductive spores and with different species there are different colors; these red ones are the brightest. The species here is my favorite because of its shape and the fruit color.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 6:59 pm

  7. These bright lichen are beautiful! It reminds me of red wax.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jet Eliot — February 9, 2018 @ 5:23 pm

    • Yes, it does look like that. I think this is one of the most attractive of all lichens, with its distinctive shapes and the color of the fruiting body.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 9, 2018 @ 7:01 pm

  8. They really are magical-looking.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — February 10, 2018 @ 12:19 am

    • I guess that’s where the common name comes from. And anyone who will crawl along the ground just to see them probably has quite an imagination.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 10, 2018 @ 9:44 am

  9. Stunning finds! I need to get down and look closer in the woods for tiny surprises!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by bayphotosbydonna — February 10, 2018 @ 8:44 am

    • This species likes steep, rocky hillsides here. There are lichens everywhere, so I’m sure you will find some. During dry times of year though many appear to be dead and dry, but then look robust again after they have some moisture.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 10, 2018 @ 9:46 am

      • We have a fern here that acts the same way. It’s popularly called the resurrection fern, and often grows along the limbs of majestic live oaks. In dry times, it looks shriveled and dead, but as soon as some rain or heavy fog comes long, it perks right up.

        Like

        Comment by shoreacres — February 10, 2018 @ 7:02 pm

  10. Terry:

    stunning photos; keep up the good work!

    Chad

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Anonymous — February 10, 2018 @ 11:41 am

    • Thanks Chad. There will be a break from the flowers. Yesterday we had 3 inches of snow and this morning it was 11º.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 10, 2018 @ 11:45 am

  11. Did you know there’s quite a market for pixie cups in terrarium circles? I certainly didn’t, but for only $11.95 (plus shipping) you can get three pieces of pixie lichen for your terrarium or fairy garden. At least most of the sellers seem to be farming them, rather than pulling them off their rocks.

    I found this cute way of explaining the relationship between the algae and the fungi:

    Once upon a time a young woman named Alice Algae lived in the woods. She was a great cook, but lived in a run-down house and had no money to fix it up. One day, a fellow named Freddy Fungus came along. Handy with tools, he offered to fix up Alice’s house in exchange for some of her fine cooking. They agreed, and Freddy repaired the home while Alice cooked for him. Eventually, they realized that they had a good situation, and had taken a “lichen” to each other. So it was that Alice Algae and Freddy Fungus lived happily ever after.

    Sometimes, there’s not a thing in the world wrong with the children’s book approach!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — February 10, 2018 @ 7:16 pm

    • I love your children’s book approach!
      I had no idea that the lichens would be for sale or that people would want to or be capable of using them in a “garden”.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 10, 2018 @ 9:15 pm

      • Here’s a link to the Etsy shopping pages for lichen-associated items: everything from straight lichens to lichen-in-epoxy earrings. Apparently this is a bigger thing than I realized. I even recognize some of the lichens I’ve seen on your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by shoreacres — February 10, 2018 @ 9:29 pm

        • That’s amazing! I had no idea. The cliffs around Buttercup Ridge are covered with the Pixi-cups.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — February 10, 2018 @ 9:41 pm

  12. I love Your macro-world photos – awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — February 13, 2018 @ 1:21 am

  13. Oh aren’t they delightful .. I have never seen anything quite like them before 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — February 14, 2018 @ 2:14 am

    • I had not seen them in their fruiting stage either until just a few years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — February 14, 2018 @ 9:28 am

  14. such beautiful portraits of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — February 14, 2018 @ 4:01 pm

    • They are really pretty when they have the fruit on them especially.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — February 14, 2018 @ 7:57 pm


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