Montana Outdoors

January 5, 2019

A bit of color in the winter landscape

Filed under: Lichens, Winter — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 10:33 pm

There are no flowers blooming here this time of year, but the Pixie Cup Lichen seem to be quite happy in their winter home.

Pixie Cup Lichen *

Pixie Cup Lichen *

Pixie Cup Lichen *

Pixie Cup Lichen *

Pixie Cup Lichen *

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March 3, 2018

Colorful lichens

Filed under: Lichens — Tags: — montucky @ 9:08 pm

Today while loitering among the rocks on a nearly vertical cliffy area with a southern exposure (the only place around not still covered with snow), I could see a variety of tiny lichen colonies and was struck by the variety and sometimes the intensity of their individual colors. I wish I understood the purpose of those colors if indeed there is one.

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen

February 26, 2018

River bank lichen

Filed under: Lichens, Winter — Tags: — montucky @ 11:47 pm

On the river bank the other day there were several bare rocks among all of the snow-covered ones about 50 feet up from the water, and some lichens seemed to love that environment, living with the snow in a very pretty way.

Snow and lichen

Snow and lichen

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

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.

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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