Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lichen - a Small Sampling

Click the pictures below for a larger view, some are well worth the closer look...

OK, here are the Big 3 again.  They are likely to pop up in most of the following pictures.
Pale green one is a Xanthoparmelia species
Rust one is a Caloplaca species
Yellow-green one is Acarospora socialis

Acaraspora socialis looking exceptionally lush after the rains.

Xanthoparmelia - X. weberi
This one radiates out from a central spot and continues growing outward after the older, middle section dies off. 

There are some ways to determine age by size & growth rates, and there are lichen over 1,000 years old.  Not surprizing, I suppose, as there are living pine trees over 4,000 years old, but there are some lichen believed to have been around 10,000 yrs or so!

Lichinella crebillifera
If I weren't aware that it had just rained (and rained) the week before, I may have passed over lichen such as these believing them to be dead.  The largest of these would barely cover your thumbnail.

Placidium laciniatum (brown) and Peltula sp. (olive)
Some more lichen species I never would have known existed before deciding to take a closer look. None of these are as big as the eraser on the end of a pencil

Placidium laciniatum - a very common brown soil lichen
This amid some of the more commonly found lichen.

I have to admit, these things are way cooler up close and personal.  They are pretty amazing to be able to survive in the desert.  But then there are lichen in the arctic and just about everywhere else.

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