Saturday, February 14, 2009
A Liking for Lichens
Like many wives, I got a nice valentine from my husband today. A big bouquet of roses? Nope. Something even better! A sweet little book called Lichens of the North Woods by Joe Walewski. I guess my hubby must take a "lichen" to me. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Actually, there is a kind of "sexy" aspect to the lichen's story. As Walewski states: "Lichens are . . . a cooperative venture between as many as three organisms: fungus, alga , and cyanobacteria." Whoo! A menage a trois! I can't wait to read more about them.
One of the great things about lichens is that you can find them all year long. If I go out to the river tomorrow I could still see the same lichens I photographed last spring and summer. So many shapes and colors! Much more variety than in any heart-shaped box of chocolates. And now I have a guidebook to take with me so I'll know what to call them.
Top to bottom are (my best guesses from looking at the book): Reindeer Lichen (Cladina mitis) (with polypody fern), Lipstick Powderhorn (Cladonia macilenta), and Common Greenshield Lichen (Flavoparmelia caperata). Aren't they as pretty as any florist's bouquet?