Do you remember our hiking trip on Thanksgiving Day? Well, I found the most beautiful piece of lichen growing on a section of branch. This little piece of branch was laying in the middle of the trail.
Ohhhh, ahhhh! I looks like an alien formation! I love it!
I am fascinated with lichen.
What is lichen? What is the difference between lichen and moss?
Let’s learn about lichen:
- Lichen is a result of a fungi feeding off of algae or cyanobacteria. Together they make a whole new organism called lichen (fungi + algae= lichen) or (fungi + cyanobacteria= lichen). The algae contains chlorophyll produced during photosynthesis feeding the lichen. The lichen in return can protect the algae and also give back some nutrients by leaching the minerals out of what ever structure it is on (rocks, plants, bark).
- Lichens can survive extreme conditions and are found almost everywhere. They can withstand freezing, heat, and no water. Once completely dried out, it can rejuvenate itself when in contact with rain or moisture.
- May be the oldest living thing on earth.
- Lichen is not moss. Even though moss can be tiny, moss is a plant consisting of small leaf-like structures and stems, favoring dark moist areas. Lichen does not have a stem and leaf structure.
Here is my sketch. The lichen measured 3.175 cm long on the branch. It was a beautiful green/blue color when moist. The flat vegetative tissue of the lichen is called thallus. The tiny “horn” structures are called apothecia. Apothecia is the spore producing body. This is where the spores are released for reproduction. Fascinating!
Oh there is nothing better in the whole world than to go hiking, discover something amazing, sketch it out, and learn! If every class was hands-on like this I would never leave school.
By the way, try to paint your subject immediately. My lichen is now dried out and is a light gray color, not green at all anymore.