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Like your Lichen?

Lichen and lichenicolous fungus records

By Heather Paul - ecologist and lichen expert

Lichens are mini eco-systems. They are a symbiotic partnership between at least two organisms - usually a fungus and an alga.

The fungus provides a protective home for the alga – protecting it from drying winds, strong sunlight, and excessive wetting. The alga photosynthesizes in sunlight and makes food for both.

Some of these lichens only grow where the air is cleaner e.g., species of Usnea but others in the list grow well where there is pollution from nitrogen or on bird–perching sites e.g. Xanthoria parietina. These photos show a grey green Usnea and an orange Xanthoria parietina which is common on Elder. The orange colour is a form of sunscreen to protect the lichen from strong sunshine.

Image 1. Xanthoria parietina

Lichens grow in many different places in the wood and field edges e.g., on the dry/light/wet side of trees or in crevices in the bark or on lignum. Some grow on trunks of trees, others on tiny twigs. The photo below shows a twig with a mosaic of lichens completely covering the bark (see image 3). Whilst others grow in lines or star shapes (see image 4 and 5 respectively).

Image 2. Usnea (above)

Image 3. Twig with mosaic of lichens (below)

Image 4. Lichen in the shape of lines

Image 5. Lichen in the shape of stars

Below is Evernia Prunastri – called “oak moss” although it is a lichen and not a moss (see image 6). It has been used for many purposes – e.g., as a fixative for perfume, to make dyes, to make a hair powder by grinding it up with rose petals to whiten wigs. It contains an acid which has been used to make an antibiotic but also has been known to produce an allergy in woodcutters. Birds use it to make and camouflage their nests and tiny creatures take shelter in it.

Image 6. Evernia Prunastri

Lichens often colonise the lighter topside of branches. Some lichens grow on smooth bark e.g., beech, others prefer rough bark like oak. This is a picture of Chrysothrix candelaris or “gold-dust lichen” growing on an oak in the woods (see image 7) and the next photo is of a very tiny black “pin-head” lichen growing with it in cracks (see image 8).

Image 8. Pin-head Lichen (below)

Image 7. Chrysothrix candelaris or “gold-dust lichen” (above).

The ecology of lichens is as diverse as the variety of species. On trees, the pH and water absorbency of its bark may affect whether particular lichens are able to grow on the tree. Some prefer an acidic home (like the bark of pine or larch), while other species enjoy an alkaline growing spot (like elder or sycamore). Bark pH is affected by pollution, and may vary at different heights in the tree. Lichens can also grow on old fenceposts, see image 9. However, not all those growing on fenceposts have been identified in this survey.

Image 9. Lichen growing on the tops and sides of the fencepost.

The lichens listed below mostly grow on trees on Forres Friends of Woods and Fields land, apart from one lichen listed here - which grows on the ground. The following list has been compiled after my walks in the woods and along the field edges managed by Forres Friends of Woods and Fields, starting in 2014 to 2020. With thanks to Brian Coppins who helped me with some identification and the British Lichen Society, 79 species are listed with the date in which I spotted them on the field.

Some species are marked LF. These are lichenicolous fungus which are fungus that grow on lichens.These are usually very small and can look like little black dots.

Lichen Record:

19th December 2014

  1. Pyrrhospora quernea on oak

  2. Buellia schaereri on oak growing amongst...

  3. Chrysothrix candelaris 2nd of September 2016

  4. Chaenotheca trichialis growing with...

  5. Chrysothrix candelaris (Gold Dust lichen). 17th of November 2018

  6. Platismatia glauca

  7. Calicium viride NJ042580 on Oak (Pinhead lichen)

  8. Chrysothrix candelaris on Oak (Gold dust lichen)

  9. Phlyctis argena 24th of April 2019

  10. Evernia prunastri NJ044582 widespread “Oak moss”

  11. Unguiculariopsis lettaui (LF) growing on...

  12. Evernia prunastri 28th of October 2019

  13. Pertusaria leioplaca 21st of March 2020

  14. Melanohalea exasperata NJ042580 on Oak 21 of May 2020 - all found on a fallen Ash tree

  15. Xanthoria parietina

  16. Ramalina farinacea

  17. Ramalina fastigiata

  18. Ramalina fraxinea

  19. Lecidella elaeochroma

  20. Melanelixia subaurifera

  21. Parmelia sulcata

  22. Marchandiomyces coarallinus (LF) growing on...

  23. Parmelia sulcata and on

  24. Lecanora chlarotera s lat

  25. Lecanora carpinea

  26. Physconia distorta

  27. Physcia stellaris

  28. Physcia adscendens

  29. Rinodina sophodes

  30. Pseudevernia furfuracea var ceratea

  31. Usnea hirta “Beard lichen”

  32. Usnea subfloridana “Beard lichen”

  33. Hypogymnia physodes “ Heather rags”” ( widespread on trees locally and on Heather)

  34. Phaeophyscia orbicularis

  35. Lichenochora aipoliae (LF) growing on Physcia stellaris

  36. Usnea wasmuthii “Beard lichen”

  37. Arthonia radiata “Asterisk lichen”

  38. Heterocephalacria physciacearum (LF) growing on Physcia sp. 10th of June 2020

  39. Kalchbrenneriella cyanescens (LF) on....

  40. Usnea sp. on alder NJ043582 15th of January 2021

  41. Cladonia macilenta on rotting stump 23rd of January 2021

  42. Tuckermanopsis chlorophylla on Beech

  43. Calicium salicinum on Oak lignum (pinhead lichen)

  44. Unguiculariopsis thallophila (LF) growing on...

  45. Lecanora chlarotera s lat 26th of January 2021

  46. Bryoria subcana on Oak NJ042580 and on Beech

  47. Lichenoconium erodens (LF) growing on...

  48. Bryoria subcana and,

  49. Parmelia sulcata and,

  50. Evernia prunastri

  51. Pertusaria pertusa on Beech “Pepperpots”

  52. Opegrapha atra - A “script lichen" as it looks like writing

  53. Melanelixia glabratula on Beech 27th of January 2021

  54. Pertusaria amara on Oak

  55. Cliostomum griffithii on Oak

  56. Lecanora expallens 29th of January 2021

  57. Briancoppinsia cytospora (LF)on..

  58. Moribund Hypogymnia on Oak 2nd of February 2021

  59. Hypocenomycis scalaris on Larch NJ 042579

  60. Clypeococcum hypocenomycis (LF) on...

  61. Hypocenomyce scalaris

  62. Ochrolechia androgyna on Beech

  63. Lecanora sarcopidoides on Larch NJ042579 - New to Vice County of Moray Nationally rare 3rd of February 2021

  64. Anisomeridium polypori on Oak trunk NJ042580 5th of February 2021

  65. Lepraria incana 15th of February 2021

  66. Pseudoschismatomma rufescens on Oak NJ042580

  67. Opegrapha varia

  68. Parmeliopsis hyperopta on lignum NJ042580

  69. Calicium glaucellum NJ042580 (pinhead) 17th of February 2021

  70. Tremella hypogymniae (LF) on...

  71. Hypogymnia physodes on Beech NJ042580 24th of February 2021

  72. Xanthoria polycarpa on conifer

  73. Lichenoconium xanthoriae (LF) growing on..

  74. Xanthoria polycarpa

  75. Lecanora confusa on dead twig NJ043581

  76. Lecanora symmicta

  77. Amandinea punctata

  78. Porina aenea

  79. Opegrapha niveoatra

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