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Monday, April 13, 2015

LICHENS, LOST AND FOUND

Laundered Rag Lichen blown off a tree 

A few days ago I found this funny looking raggedy thing about the size of my hand. I picked it off the ground and thought what the heck is this? I had no idea what to call it. 

However, my curiosity unfurled.


 Underside Laundered Rag Lichen  -- with its red fruit (not edible)

Over the next couple days I researched for the possibilities of what I had found. Its texure and size reminded me of a leaf -- a fallen leaf possibly?  But then eventually, from my research, I found out that it was a lichen -- presumably the common name of this particular one -- Laundered Rag lichen (Platismatia norvegica). 

Some important things I learned from researching lichens is this information below from Wikipedia:

"Lichens may be long-lived, with some considered to be among the oldest living things. They are among the first living things to grow on fresh rock exposed after an event such as a landslide. The long life-span and slow and regular growth rate of some lichens can be used to date events (lichenometry). Many lichens are very sensitive to environmental disturbances and can be used in cheaply assessing air pollution, ozone depletion, and metal contamination. Lichens have been used in making dyes, perfumes, and in traditional medicines. Few lichen species are eaten by insects or larger animals." Also that lichens cover 6% of the earth's surface. And lichens come in all different shapes, colors and sizes.




Later stage of Laundered Rag Lichen

I am sure some of you find oddities in nature that you set aside until you find out what it actually is. Puzzles of nature can bring us many pleasures while sharpening our brain powers.

If I am wrong in designating this lichen Laundered Rag  -- I would appreciate if you could let me know the correct name.


 Some Online References:


18 comments:

  1. In my thinking, you found a true treasure. What a wonder nature is!

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    1. Michelle -- I think the hard rain we had brought this particular lichen down out of the surrounding trees.. I discovered several lying on the ground but now they seem to have disappeared. thanks -- barbara

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  2. How observant and curious you are! I don't think I'd notice it. I'm fascinated by how long lived they are and that few insects or animals eat them. I believe I've read that reindeer in the Arctic eat only lichen (perhaps a specific kind) and will dig through fairly deep snow to get to them. The reindeer herders have to be nomadic and follow their deer who roam from place to place in the forest as the deplete lichen in one area and move on. Apparently the lichen are not killed but regenerate themselves. That is the total of my previous reading about lichens.

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    1. June -- What an interesting story about the Arctic reindeer and lichens. Now I am wondering what supplements are in the lichens that provide staying power for them in the winter. I wish there was enough time in life to discover all of Mother Earth's ways of taking care of the planet. thanks for the nice comment -- barbara

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  3. I don't think I mentioned that your marvellous photographs have inspired me to paint again. Next holiday I shall take my 'real' camera and try to record those wonderful images that inspire you, first on film, and then with watercolour and probably inks.

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    1. Carole -- Oh I do hope you do share the photos as well as the watercolours and ink. I was just at our small local library and noticed some lovely inks of local homes in the hallway -- where most folks miss them. I might ask to take photos of them and post them with credit of course. Ink and woodcuts attract me. Here's to your new endeavor. -- barbara

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  4. How interesting...and I have nothing to offer in knowledge, just awe. I know there was a lichen expert that did a walk at our botanical gardens once, and I missed it. I couldn't figure out how even 10 people could stand on a trail and see one lichen and hear about it. It's a difficult study, I imagine. You did more research than I would have!

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    1. Barbara -- I don't know a lot about nature. But rather I take it one step at a time. If something interests me I research it. Just think how much time we would need to research everything! For me -- not enough time for sure. thanks for the nice comment -- barbara

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  5. Amazing what we can learn if we take the time.

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    1. Tabor -- I do believe that using a camera to record what surrounds oneself makes us more astute in our observations. But, yes, we can't observe everything that is for sure. -- barbara

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  6. Back when I was a consummate spinner I researched natural dyes and then took my first class. I was appalled to find the teacher with an array of lichens. It made me physically ill to think how long they had grown, only to be stripped unceremoniously for purple. I dyed a lot of wool in my time, but never again with any natural, which included my realization of the hazard of all the mordants.

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    1. Joanne -- Fortunately, I found my lichen blown to the ground by a passing hard rain storm. I thought it was a piece of paper when I first saw it lying on the ground. It was when I picked it up that I discovered its beauty. After I photographed it I put it back on the ground where I found it. thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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  7. We have some lichens but nothing that striking. Great photos!

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    1. Hattie -- It seems that lichens can be found just about any place in the world. I am just beginning to realize the important role they play. I imagine you have more than you realize -- maybe. -- In my research I found this article on Hawaii's lichen in case you are interested. thaniks barbara
      https://books.google.com/books?id=gstGAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA303&lpg=PA303&dq=how+many+lichens+does+Hawaii+have?&source=bl&ots=XF0b4iu65U&sig=KSLsePZUCTs3gEKcZQLOy6lIkm4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CUAwVfzyM4npoATdwIHADA&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=how%20many%20lichens%20does%20Hawaii%20have%3F&f=false

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  8. Wow, what an amazing find. Especially when you see the backside! I don't know much about lichen, but I do see it around a lot. I never really gave s thought to all the possible varieties. I'll have to pay more attention!

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    1. Melissa -- Lichens have been a mystery for me as well. When I found this lichen and saw its beauty I decided to find out more and through my searching found out the importance to our earth's ecology. Curiosity is good. It doesn't kill cats. -- thanks - barbara

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  9. I have always loved and have been fascinated with lichens - their many varied colors and shapes. This one is amazing! Some lichens were used by native people for medicine, and most are very high in vitamin C. We have a particular variety here that is used to make a medicinal tea. Aaaaah - the wonder of nature!!

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    1. Starr White -- I agree -- the wonder of nature. You seem to know quite a bit about lichens. I plan on learning more as where I live in Oregon in just the right environment to find many. There are lots of good info spots online. Maybe you have a favorite book or two that you could recommend? thanks -- barbara

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