Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Skinny leaves and stretchy cords

Where there is moss in our coastal forests, there is also lichen. I am fascinated by its myriad forms; so intriguing!

Here are some of the photos taken on the moss walk, identified only to general type.

This would be a leaf lichen. Shrub lichens have cylindrical stems; this has flattened stems, like skinny leaves.

Another skinny leaf lichen.

A ruffled leaf, or rag lichen. (Ragbag?)

Appressed leaf lichen. 

A hairy, "beard" lichen, fallen in great clumps from the trees above.

Fuzzy photo through a wet lens. Usnea sp.

This lichen genus (Usnea) is easily identified (to genus, anyhow) by the tough central cord. Our guide is demonstrating here. The cord is elastic; if you pull gently on both ends, it stretches out visibly, uncoiling. Release it, and it springs back.

I brought home a sample. I just re-tested what's left of it, dry and stiff after a week in a bag. It still stretches.

A bit of everything, all growing together. At least four lichens, yellowish shelf mushrooms with purple borders, two mosses, and salal leaves, on a dead branch.

More mixed lichens on an evergreen branch. The recent wet weather brought down many branches from overhead; usually these are out of reach.

This week, I walked most of the Ripple Rock trail, and brought back more moss and lichen photos, as well as some interesting spiders and mushrooms. Then I flipped rocks on the Tyee Spit beach at low tide; a treasure trove! I don't know which I'll post first; all the photos call out to be processed, "now! Me first!"


  1. Knowing that you go scrambling over rocks and logs I thought the title might be a reference to those Elastane corduroy pants...
    Nope! Much more interesting.

  2. Great pictures of the lichen!


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