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Posts Tagged ‘Foliose Lichen’

Since New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country after Maine, with 84% of the land forested, forests are easy places to explore. More difficult is finding untouched places that are as close to true wilderness as you can get, but it can be done. I visited one such place last weekend.

1. Forest

In these pockets of older, sometimes protected forest there are often no marked trails or other signs of civilization, so it is wise to be well prepared if you decide to penetrate them very deeply. People get lost in these forests year round-even experienced hikers and hunters.

2. Violets

Violets always make a hike more pleasant. This one had very downy stems, and that makes me think that it was an ovate leaved violet (Viola fimbriatula.) The only trouble with that line of thought is, ovate leaved violets are supposed to be purple and my color finding software tells me that these are very blue.

3. Anemones

In places hundreds of anemones carpeted the forest floor. As I moved on I realized that, instead of feeling thankful for the beautiful scene before me, I was wishing that the anemones were white trilliums like the amazing displays I’ve seen on Michigan and Ohio blogs. I need to work on gratitude.

4. Low Bush Blueberry

Low bush blueberry bushes (Vaccinium angustifolium) grow in great profusion in any spot that gets enough of sunlight. The berries are an important food source for bear, deer, and many other animals and birds.

5. Beaver Pond

This forest has low, wet places made even wetter by beavers. Beaver ponds are active for an average of 30 years and the first stage in creating one is damming a stream to form a pond. Our native trees aren’t meant to live with their roots under water because they take in a lot of oxygen through them, so living trees in an area like this means it was flooded recently.

6. Old Beaver Pond

This was another wet area that looked to be in the process of becoming a sunny clearing with a stream running through it. The dead trees show that this was once a forest that became a pond. Older beaver ponds fill with silt or the beavers move away and their dams erode enough to drain the land. In either case the beaver pond of today will eventually revert back to forest. When the forest has re-established itself and there are enough trees for beavers to eat they will come back and again flood the land in a slow but ever repeating cycle. I feel lucky that I was able to see both the birth and death of beaver ponds without having to travel very far.

7. Goldthread

Three leaf goldthread (Coptis trifolia) is very happy in moist places. This plant gets its common name from its bright, golden yellow roots. Both Native Americans and colonials used goldthread to treat soreness in the mouth, hence the common name “canker root.” It is said to be very bitter.

 8. Starflower

Starflowers (Trientalis borealis) grow all through the forest and make use of any place that might get an hour or two of sunlight.  The Trientalis part of the scientific name means “one third of a foot” and relates to the plant’s 4 inch height. Two or three flowers are the usual number for this plant but each year I like to try to find the plants with the most flowers. I think my record is four.

9. Foamflower Blossoms

Heartleaf foamflowers (Tiarella cordifolia) like to grow in moist, shady places. This plant is a good example of how wildflowers becoming garden flowers. People liked this plant enough to create a demand for it and nurserymen obliged by collecting its seed and growing it for sale. Of course, plant breeders also got ahold of it and have bred many new and unusual varieties.

 10. Strawberry

Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana) like sunny spots and help keep the forest inhabitants well fed.

 11. Foliose Lichen

All kinds of lichens fall from the tree tops and litter the forest floor. I think this one is a fringed wrinkle lichen (Tuckermenopsis americana) but there are many that look very similar so I’m not 100% certain. Lichens can be very hard to identify because they change color as they dry out, and then when it rains change back to their “normal” color again. That’s why serious lichen hunters only hunt for them after it rains.

12. Unknown Fungs

The fungus growing from under the bark of this tree reminded me of those dinner rolls that come in a tube and pop out if you smack them hard enough.  I’ve looked through three mushroom identification books and haven’t found anything that resembles it.

13. Hobblebush Blossoms

Hobblebushes (Viburnum alnifolium) grow in the clearings and along the edges of the forest. Hobblebush grows very low to the ground and is known for tripping up, or “hobbling” both men and horses.

 14. Hobblebush Blossoms

The flowers are beautiful but deceiving. The fertile flowers are small and form in the center of the flat topped flower cluster (corymb). Larger and showier infertile flowers ring the outer edge of the cluster. This shrub is a favorite of mine and has been very popular for a long time. Even Gorge Washington grew them in his garden.

There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties. ~ John Muir

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We have been wet here lately, but have seen more liquid than the white fluffy variety. Still, our local weatherman is hinting at big changes coming next week so we may see some snow before Christmas. Or maybe not-the Weather Channel is saying rain.

1. Misty Forest

It’s getting harder to find the sun lately and the forests look like the one in the picture on most days. Though it’s easy to think that not much is going on in the cold and damp December woods, nothing could be further from the truth-there is still a lot of nature happening.

2. Fallen Tree One of the nice things about this time of year is that you can see the bones of the forest. If all of the underbrush still had leaves I never would have seen this twisted, mossy log.

3. December 3rd Aster

Though it’s not the prettiest aster I’ve seen, this one was still blooming on December 3rd.

 4. December 3rd Mushroom

This pinkish brown mushroom was trying hard on the same day.

5. Fan Shaped Jelly Fungus aks Dacryopinax spathularia

I’ve read that jelly fungi like witch’s butter can absorb so much water when it rains that they turn white. I wondered if the same thing was happening to these- what I think are- fan shaped jelly fungi (Dacryopinax spathularia.)

6. Evergreen Christmas Fern

Some people say that the leaflets (Pinna) of the evergreen Christmas fern ( Polystichum acrostichoides) look like little Christmas stockings. You can see why if you look at the leaflet just to the right of the gap, and right up near the stem in the photo. Each leaflet has a little bump or “ear.” This is the only fern in the New Hampshire woods with this feature, so it makes a Christmas fern very easy to identify. The short leaf stems (petioles,) serrated leaflet margins, and hairy central stem are other things to watch for when looking for this fern.

7. Pixie Cup Lichen

Lichens are also very easy to see at this time of year but some, like these pixie cup lichens (Cladonia pyxidata,) are small enough to still make them challenging to find. A single drop of water would be far too big to fit into one of these little cups.

8. Foliose Lichen

Lichens dry out quickly when it is dry but plump right back up again when it rains, as this foliose lichen shows. It had been drizzling steadily for two days when I took this picture. I haven’t been able to find this lichen in any lichen books or online.

 9. Orange Brown Lichen

I’ve never seen this orange-brown crustose lichen before and can’t find anything like it in Lichens of the North Woods.

 10. Turkey Tails

I’m seeing turkey tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) that are more colorful than those I saw just a month ago. Blue is a hard color to find in nature so the different blues in these examples really caught my eye. I still have a feeling that cold weather has something to do with their color. They seem to be brown/tan in early fall and then as the temperature drops they get more colorful. Of course, it could be that I’m just seeing both brown/tan and colorful varieties. I’ve got to find one example that is easy to get to and watch it over several months.

11. Lemon Drops and Turkey Tails on a Log

The much more common brown turkey tails and lemon drop jelly fungi (Bisporella citrina) decorated the end of this log.

 12. White Cushion Moss

White cushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) isn’t really white but it does form a cushion. It can also form large mats, but the ball shape shown in the photo is more common. This moss needs plenty of shade and water.

 13. Dead Mushroom Gills

It’s not just growing things that are interesting. I liked the color and shape of this dead mushroom.

14. Woven Beech Trees

This is something I don’t see in the woods every day; when they were much younger than they are now somebody wove these three beech (Fagus) seedlings together. As they grew and finally touched, they rubbed against each other in the wind until the bark had rubbed away. Now they have grown together through inosculation, which is a natural process very similar to the grafting done in orchards. One day they may grow into a single, twisted trunk.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy ~Anton Chekhov

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As the leaves continue to fall more lichens are becoming visible, including some that are fruiting and some that I’ve never seen before.                       A pine tree had fallen and taken this Beard Lichen (Usnea scabrata) with it. It is called old man’s beard and I picked it up off the ground and hung it on another tree so we could see it in all its glory. It was the longest beard lichen-probably 6 inches or more-that I’ve seen. These lichens have been used medicinally for centuries. This is also a beard lichen called bristly beard (Usnea hirta.) many lichens grow so slowly that they can take decades to grow a fraction of an inch. They are thought to be among the oldest living things on earth.

According to my lichen book moose hair lichen (Bryoria trichodes) is also called pine moss or horsehair lichen. Beard and hair lichens are extremely sensitive to air pollution and will only grow where the air quality is high. Deer, moose and squirrels eat this lichen and there are stories of deer rushing out of the forest and eating it out of the tops of felled spruce trees while loggers with chainsaws were still cutting the trees up. This one grew on a white pine trunk and it’s the first time I’ve seen it. 

These British soldier lichens (Cladonia cristatella) grew on an old stump in full sun. The very bright red color at the end of branched stalks makes these easy to identify. The red tips are where spores are produced. They are also why this lichen is called “British soldier.” 

If I understand what I have read correctly, the chief difference between the British soldier lichens shown previously and the lipstick powderhorn lichens (Cladonia macilenta) in this photo is that British soldiers branch and lipstick powderhorns do not. They both have the same red spore producing tips and otherwise look identical to me. I just noticed that the pine needles in the background have a reddish cast to them, so I wonder if this lichen’s released spores are red. Common powderhorn lichens (Cladonia coniocraea) look just like lipstick powderhorns, but without the red tip. The spores are released from the pointed tip. These were also growing on a decaying log.

Another view of common powderhorn lichens (Cladonia coniocraea.) 

Mealy Pixie Cup (Cladonia chlorophaea) lichen look like little trumpets from the side but from the top they look like tiny cups. The cups are where the spores form and this lichen relies on raindrops falling in them to disperse its spores. This lichen is called “mealy” because of the grainy reproductive structures (soredia) covering its outside surface.

Trumpet lichens (Cladonia fimbriata) have much finer and smaller reproductive structures (soredia) than the mealy pixie cup lichen (Cladonia chlorophaea.) The splash cups of mealy pixie cups are also slightly larger than those of trumpet lichens. This is the first time I’ve seen either of these trumpet shaped lichens.

I’m not sure what this foliose lichen’s name is, but it was a pleasure to see. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one so white. This leaf like (foliose) lichen always reminds me of leaf lettuce. I think it is a fringed wrinkle lichen (Tuckermannopsis Americana.) Its colors are unusual. Rock Foam (Stereocaulon saxatile) grew directly on stone in full sun. It is a fragile looking lichen which caribou will eat if they can’t find reindeer lichen. These lichens are often used as a prospecting tool because a simple lab test will show what type of rock they grow on and what minerals, like copper or magnesium, are present.

I’m not positive about this lichen’s identity but it might be the sulphur firedot (Caloplaca flavovirescens.) Sulphur firedot lichen grows on rock with high calcium content and on unpainted concrete and leans toward orange-yellow in color. It could also be common goldspeck (Candelariella vitellina,) which is much more yellow than orange. In this area yellow lichens aren’t often seen.

I found this very large grayish tan crustose lichen growing on a boulder on the lake shore in full sun. The cup shaped formations are apothecia, or fruiting bodies, and they are where the spores are produced. I couldn’t see these tiny cups until I looked at the picture because they were too small.

A witches broom on a plant is a deformation which forms a very dense, compacted cluster of branches. The witches broom in the photo was high up on a white pine (Pinus strobus) and was absolutely covered with lichens of many kinds.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. ~ Albert Einstein

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