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Posts Tagged ‘Candy Lichen’

This is another post full of those things that didn’t seem to fit in other posts.                       The last of the crabapples-one that the birds and squirrels have both rejected for some reason. Native evergreen fan clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum) looks like a small evergreen tree.  Clubmosses are some of the oldest vascular plants on Earth. The foliage contains toxic alkaloids so most animals don’t eat it, which means that man is its only real threat. Since they produce spores rather than seeds and a single mature plant can take 20 years to develop from a spore, they should be left alone. Foamflower (Tiarella) is another native evergreen whose fuzzy leaves sometimes turn deep purple in the fall. More often than not though, they look a little blotchy like those in the photo. In the book Forest Forensics, Tom Wessels describes white pine (Pinus strobus) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) stumps as “decaying from the outside in.” He also says that it takes 50 years for the wood to completely decay.  I’m guessing that this is the stump of a white pine because hemlock has rot resistant bark that is usually still in place even when the wood has completely decayed. A local river was so calm this day that, if I turn this picture 180 degrees, I don’t know if I’m looking at sky or water. I like the little cups formed by the bracts on common witch hazel (Hamamelis viginiana.) These bracts are at the base of the flower and are where a single brown, box shaped seed capsule will develop over the course of a year. Next autumn these seed capsules will open quickly with a loud snapping sound and shoot the seeds as far as 40 feet from the parent plant. I find native witch hazel shrubs growing along river banks here in New Hampshire.

The bubble gum pink fruiting bodies (Apothecia) held on short stalks above a blue-green background (Thallus) give this candy lichen (Icmadophila ericetorum) its name. I found large colonies of this lichen growing near a local pond. It grew on moist sand in full sun near white pines and blueberries. The ground hasn’t frozen yet so mushrooms are still growing. I see mostly small brown types but this pinkish tan one was growing in the middle of a trail. I think it might be one of the Russulas. Native pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata ) seed capsules haven’t opened yet.  At one time this plant, one of the wintergreens, was an ingredient of root beer.  Native Americans had many medicinal uses for the plant and the name pipsissewa is Cree for “it breaks into small pieces.” This is in reference to their belief that the plant broke up gall and kidney stones. The scientific name Chimaphila is from the Greek ceima,”winter”; and filos “lover” because it is evergreen.

Running ground pine (Lycopodium clavatum) is actually a type of clubmoss.  The horizontal branching stems can cover large areas. Here it grows among mosses, American wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens,) and fallen beech leaves. I found this dandelion blooming happily on November 23rd. It still has a ways to go to beat the record of the December 21st bloomer I saw last year. This goldenrod seed head was leaning out over water, which made for a very dark background.

He who walks may see and understand. You can study all America from one hilltop, if your eyes
are open and your mind is willing to reach. But first you must walk to that hill ~ Hal Borland

Thanks for visiting.

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