Thursday, November 30, 2017

Scribblings and pumpkin tarts

Once the fall leaves are busy making mulch on the ground, it's a good time to stop and look at the exposed tree trunks and stumps, each with its own crop of mosses and lichens. The unnamed trail I was following passed through a mixed forest, half evergreens, half deciduous trees, mostly red alder, cottonwood, and various maples.

Black cottonwood; mid-size tree, with its mossy earmuffs.

Two persistent leaves. Cottonwood.

Orange jelly fungus. Looking closely, the surface even has the bumpy texture of an orange peel.

Lipstick cladonia on a rotting log

And these miniature pumpkin pies are a barnacle lichen, Thelotrema lepadinum.

The genus name, "Thelotrema" comes from the Greek for "perforated nipple", which accurately describes the immature "barnacles". "Lepadinum" means "like limpets". Someone got their intertidal critters mixed up.

Red alder, Alnus rubra. With bark barnacles and pencil script lichen.

Red alder, moss, and lichens

Zooming in. The little branching lines are the fruiting bodies of Pencil script lichen, Graphis scripta

The pale patches are the main body of the lichen; it's a crust lichen, making smooth writing surfaces on trees in shady woods.

The path. Well travelled, wide enough for the occasional vehicle.
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
(From JRR Tolkien, "Walking song")


  1. What a lovely place!
    When I was a toddle-bod I used to see faces in knot-holes and bark.And you have a lovely example on the mossy red alder, third from the bottom.

  2. "Lepadinum" means "like limpets". Someone got their intertidal critters mixed up.

    That someone, I'm sorry, being you. Lepas is a goose barnacle; lepadinium would be something related to Lepas.

    1. Thanks, Christopher! Serves me right for taking something from my guide without double-checking it. (Plants of Coastal BC, Pojar & MacKinnon, Lichens)


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