Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Elder and Lichens




Lichens are just about the most colourful objects in the landscape hereabouts at this time of year. This one is a Xanthoria species - Xanthoria parietina I think - growing on an elder twig. The little orange discs are apothecia, which produce the spores from the fungal component of the symbiotic relationship between the alga and fungus that constitutes a lichen.












Old elders (is that a tautology?) are often smothered with this yellow lichen, bringing the whole tree to life when it's lit by winter sunshine. X.parietina thrives in sites where there is plenty of nitrogen in the substrate, such as tree branches where birds have perched and left droppings.


6 comments:

  1. They certainly brighten the landscape this time of year.

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  2. We seem to have such a lot of lichen here, it forms tiny cups and looks superb, whole trees covered so closely that you'd think them dead. As you say they light up in sunlight.

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  3. Interesting, Phil. We had a talk from botanist Janet Simpkin at the Redesdale Society last week and she showed us many different lichens, as well as flowers and mosses growing on the whin sill grasslands and the lead/zinc waste areas around lead mine. Fascinating.

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  4. They certainly do Keith - they really stand out in the hedgerow...

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  5. Hi Toffeeapple,there are some lovely little lichens under the heather up on the moors that I'm planning to take a close look at....

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  6. Hello Emma, one of the things I like about winter is that it forces you to take a close look at some of the more diminutive components of our wildlife - tricky to identify though.....

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