Friday, February 12, 2010

More from the understory

In the shade of old evergreens, we examine surfaces; on soil, wood, deadwood, stone, and even cement, there is always something to be discovered.

The shady end of the Nicomekl Bridge. Tufts of moss along the cement wall.

On the inside of a well-rotted log. 

Only the hard fibers remain; the rest is soggy sawdust. A few fruiting bodies of an orangey slime mold are visible.

On a blackened, disintegrating log.

This turkey tail provides more surface area, here hosting a green slime mold or some sort of encrusting lichen.

On a broken twig.

Lichen, probably ragbag lichen. Waxpaper lichen is similar, but it has small, white soredia scattered over the thalli. This one has them (or maybe isidia) clustered along the edges. And there are black hairs on the underside. I think they are  rhizines (small root-like structures), but I haven't been able to find any photographs to confirm this.

Even with our noses to the ground, we remember occasionally, to look up:

Green lights. Spring is coming!

Underfoot, in hand, and far overhead, in shade or sunshine, there is always lichen:

Ancient apple tree, long past the days when they pruned it, warming its old bones in the spring sunshine. It's a home for lichen, these days; very few branches are free of it.

A Skywatch post.


  1. Thank you so much for putting a name to the mosses, lichens, molds, fungi and other little bits of nature I see everyday! It is very interesting, and your photos are always exquisite.

  2. Thanks, Clytie!

    I find that finding the names of things helps me to notice more details. Maybe it's because making separate "files" in my mind leaves room for specifics instead of generalizations. So I end up seeing more, making more connections.


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