Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Look at me


Lichen is fascinating stuff. I ignored it for years but now the complexity of it draws me in.

I know from my reading that it's actually a symbiotic relationship of fungi and algae rather than a single entity - but I'm not the person to ask how that happens. All I know is that the end result is beautiful. Yesterday I noticed that the older branches and twigs on the Bursaria growing near the river were completely covered by bright yellow lichens. Click on the photo to get a better look at the intricate shapes.

Lichens grow very slowly and can be damaged very easily. But humans have been using it for a very long time for medicines, insulation, stuffing mummies, producing litmus, alcohol production, hair products, dog food in the Arctic regions, floral decorations and of course, fabric dying. I wonder what colour my bright yellow lichen would produce. Yellow?

http://www.lichen.com/ has lots of information about lichens.

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