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Posts Tagged ‘Sulfur Firedot Lichen’

1. Stone Wall

If there’s one thing we have plenty of here in New Hampshire it is stones, and you can hardly walk a mile even in the deepest woods without seeing a wall built with them. Though there are many types of stone walls the most common in this area are “tossed walls.” Farmers worked from dawn to dusk in Colonial New England and tossed walls required the least amount of time and effort because smaller stones were literally tossed or thrown on top of one another. In the early years getting rid of the plentiful stones quickly and efficiently was more important than enclosing the fields and boy, did famers get rid of them. In 1872 there were an estimated 270,000 miles of stone walls in New England. Today these masses of stone collect a lot of heat from the sun and snow melts from them quickly, leaving perfect places to explore in the winter.

2. Sulfur Firedot on Stone

I can remember when I was a young boy reading a book (by Beatrix Potter I think) which showed a painting of a stone house. The stones were all colors including blue, orange and yellow, so I knew right off that whoever wrote this dumb old book had never seen anything built of stone. Why, everybody knew that stones were gray! As I grew older and started paying closer attention to the world around me I realized once again that I didn’t know what I was talking about because, as whoever illustrated that book knew, stones could indeed come in many colors. The orange yellow color in this example comes from sulfur firedot lichens (Caloplaca flavovirescens.)

3. Sulfur Dust Lichen aka Chrysothrix chlorina

An even brighter yellow is found on stones colored by sulfur dust lichens (Chrysothrix chlorina). This lichen doesn’t like to be rained on so it is usually found hiding under some type of overhang.

4. Hedwigia ciliata  Moss on Stone

Stones can be green when covered by a carpet of moss. This stone was too big for three men to carry and wore the biggest patch of Hedwigia ciliata moss that I’ve seen.

5. Hedwigia ciliata Moss

The white leaf tips drawn out to long, fine points help confirm the identity of Hedwigia ciliata moss.

6. Orange Granite

Sometimes stones don’t need any help from lichens to show their colors as this orange granite shows. Granite comes in many colors, including red, brown, pink, blue-gray, black, and white. Often though, over the years the wall stones will weather to a uniform gray before the lichens move in and lend their colors to the wall.

 7. Hitching Ring

My grandfather was the town blacksmith for years in Westmoreland, New Hampshire so I always look for old wrought iron hardware in stone walls. This photo shows an old iron hitching ring for a horse, which its reins would have been passed through to keep it from running off. Why the landowner wanted to hitch his horse to this exact spot in the wall is a mystery. Maybe it was shaded at one time.

8. Chain Hook

This chain hook was my favorite find during this walk. A link from a chain would have been hooked over it and then another link hooked over a similar hook a certain distance away. Chains were (and are) often hung across roads or driveways as a way to say “no admittance.”  What I like about this example is the way the blacksmith tapered the hook over its length and finally ended it in what looks like a dragon’s tail. He didn’t have to do any of that because this was something that would have hardly ever been seen and it meant more time and effort, but he had the skill and used it and took pride in his work. I also like the Cumberland rock shield lichens growing all over the stone.

9. Cumberland Rock Shield Apothecia aka Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia

Cumberland rock shield lichens (Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia) have cinnamon to dark brown fruiting bodies, called apothecia, where spores are produced. They produce spores quite regularly so it is always worth stopping to get a closer look. The curled margins of the apothecia cups are helpful with identification.

10. Squirrel Leavings

Squirrels and chipmunks choose the flattest stones to have their lunch on, which in this case consisted of white pine (Pinus strobus) seeds.

 11. Gray Lichen on Stone possibly possibly Thelotrema lepadinum

Plain old gray lichens are plentiful and easy to walk by without a second look, but you might be missing something quite fascinating if you do.

12. Gray Lichen on Stone Apothecia possibly Thelotrema lepadinum

This is a close up look at the gray lichen in the previous photo. I think it’s a barnacle lichen (Thelotrema lepadinum.) The darker bits are its apothecia. It looks like some kind of alien landscape.

13. Marginal Wood Fern

Many plants hug stone walls for the winter warmth given off by the stones and protection from mower blades. Everything from lowly mosses to towering trees can be found along these old walls.

 14. Marginal Wood Fern Sori

Many ferns release their spores in the fall and if you want to see how it all works all you need to do is follow a stone wall, because there are sure to be ferns growing along it. This example shows the many sori (clusters of spore producing sporangia) on the underside of a marginal wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis.) Thicker cells on one side of the sourus create tension as it ages and dries out, and causes its cover (indusium) to burst open and release its spores. These burst indusia can be seen in several places in this photo. Not all ferns have covered sori; some, like the polypody fern’s (Polypodium vulgare,) are naked.

15. White Pine Stump

In this region white pine trees are common and they (or their stumps) are especially common along stone walls. Old, rotting pine stumps are great places to look for mosses and lichens.

16. British Soldier Lichens on Stump

New Hampshire was nearly 150 years old when the Revolutionary War began and though no battles were fought here we still have our British soldiers- in the form of lichens (Cladonia cristatella). These were found on the base of the old white pine stump in the previous photo.

Like a negative to a photograph, stone walls are most visible when life is most invisible. Typically this occurs in January when snow frames the wall from bottom to top and when the strengthening, crystal-clear sun casts strong shadows. ~Robert M. Thorson

Thanks for stopping in.

 

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1. Trail

A friend of mine who moved to California many years ago came back east for a visit recently and, since it was a beautiful summery day with low humidity we decided to climb Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, New Hampshire. This mountain was named for the Pitcher family who settled here in the 1700s. The trail is actually a road so the fire wardens, technicians, and others can easily drive almost all the way to the top. Hiking it takes about 15 minutes with no stops.

2. Meadow

Before long you reach the pasture where Scottish highland cattle are kept. They weren’t here this day, but there were plenty of wildflowers to admire.

3. Grass Flowering

Grasses were also flowering. They are beautiful when they bloom.

 4. Trail

Nearer to the top the trail gets steeper and rockier.

5. Ranger Station

Before you know it you’re at the old ranger station. There is a shed and an outhouse out in back.

6. Firetower Anchor

It isn’t hard to imagine the mighty winds that must blow up here. The fire tower is tied down to solid granite in several places so it doesn’t blow off the mountain.

7. Fire Tower

Ironically the original wooden fire tower built here in 1915 was destroyed by fire in April of 1940. 27,000 acres of forest burned, including the fire tower and all of the trees on the summit.  It was the most destructive fire in the region’s history and burned the top of the mountain right down to bare granite. There are 16 active fire towers in the state, but this one is only manned when the fire danger is high. It has microwave transmitters and receivers on it, and I’m never really sure what to think about that.

8. Blueberry

Blueberry bushes have colonized the mountaintop and this is a favorite spot to come and pick them. Sometimes entire families will come and pick buckets full of berries. There are acres of them and there always seems to be enough for everybody.

9. Mountain View

Others come for the views, which on this day were quite good.

10. Lichens

I always have to take a close look at the lichens when I come here, even though they never seem to change. Orangey-yellowish common gold speck lichen (Candelariella vitellina) and black and white tile lichen (Lecidea tessellata) appear here with small spots of pale yellow sulfur fire dot lichen (Caloplaca flavovirescens.)

 11. Cloudscape

I took this shot more for the clouds than anything else. I like the way that they float off into infinity. According to Henry David Thoreau mountain tops were sacred and mysterious places to Native Americans and they never visited them. “Only daring and insolent men go there” he said, but I didn’t feel particularly daring or insolent on this day.

 12. Glacial Striations

Deep striations in the granite are a reminder that this entire region was once under ice. It’s hard to imagine ice thick enough to cover these mountains.

 13. Triangulation Station

Even on mountain tops, trigonometry.

14. Monadnock

As you start back down the path on this, the second highest mountain in the region, you are greeted by a view of Mount Monadnock, which is the highest. The sun coming through the clouds was doing some strange things to the colors of the hills, making them look like a painting.

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. ~Rene Daumal

Thanks for coming by. Happy first day of summer!

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This post is another collection of things that haven’t fit in other posts.

1. Arbor Vitae Seed Pods

The stiff, woody seed pods of arborvitae look like tiny carved flowers. Arborvitaes are in the cedar family and are used extensively in commercial landscaping. I think this one was a Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis.) Native Americans used the foliage of this tree to treat scurvy and European explorers called it the tree of life. Its wood is very rot resistant.

 2. Hydrangea Blossom

The back of this single hydrangea blossom reminded me of an insect’s wing.  Hydrangeas are another common landscape shrub with flowers that can be white, pink, or blue. My grandmother always called hers “snowballs,” because that’s what the round clusters of white flowers looked like. The word hydrangea comes from the Greek “hydra” meaning water and “angeoa” meaning vessel, which refers to the shape of its seed pod. The ancient Greeks thought the pods resembled the vessels that they used to carry water in, apparently.

3. The Sky in a Water Drop

One day I as I was going into my house a drop of water fell on my coat sleeve.  As I fiddled with the key, out of the corner of my eye I could see the water beading and glistening like mercury, so I held my arm as steady as I could while I took pictures with my left hand. (I’m right handed) It wasn’t until I got the picture on the computer that I saw that the reflected blue sky and white clouds had turned a simple drop of water into what looked like crashing waves.

4. Barberry Thorn

I wasn’t happy to find Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) growing alongside one of my favorite trails. This shrub is highly invasive because of its bright red berries that birds love. It spreads easily, will grow in the shade, and is hard to eradicate once it becomes established. The worst part of the plant is its thorns, which are as sharp as needles and easily pierce clothing.

 5. Common Split Gill Fungus aka Schizophyllum commune

Small, white and very fuzzy split gill mushrooms (Schizophyllum commune ) grew on a fallen tree. This fungus is special because it is the most widespread mushroom known and grows on every continent on earth except Antarctica. The only reason it doesn’t grow there is because there is no wood there for it to grow on. Though it looks like a bracket fungus it isn’t considered one because it has gills. This example was about as big as a nickel.

 6. Common Split Gill Fungus Underside aka Schizophyllum commune

Books will tell you that split gill mushrooms get their common name from the way their gills are split. It sounds simple until you try to picture how they are split. As this photo shows they are split lengthwise. When this mushroom dries out the gills split and get hairy, as the picture also shows. After they get some needed moisture most of the hairiness disappears and they look a lot like the gills on any other mushroom.

 7. Puffballs

If you speak Greek you know that “lyco” means wolf and “perdon” means “to break wind,” so you wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the common name of these puffballs is “wolf fart puffballs” (Lycoperdon pyriforme.) I found these growing on a log just before our last snow storm.

8. Lipstick Powderhorn Lichens

Lipstick powder horn lichens (Cladonia macilenta) look a lot like British soldier lichens (Cladonia cristatella,) but they have a single, small red tip instead of the larger, multiple red tips of British soldier lichens.

9. Entodon Moss Possibly Entodon cladorrhizans

I think this might be Entodon cladorrhizans moss, but I’m not 100 percent sure. Entodon mosses are called “carpet moss.” These plants were hanging from the side of a stone.

10. Sulfur Firedot Lichen aka Caloplaca flavovirescens

Pale yellow sulfur fire dot lichen (Caloplaca flavovirescens.) likes to grow on stone that is calcium rich. I found it growing on a stone that was part of stone wall that was probably 200 years or more old. This is a crustose lichen, which means that it forms a crust that grows so tightly to the substrate that it can’t be removed without damage.

For observing nature, the best pace is a snail’s pace. ~Edwin Way Teale

Thanks for stopping in.

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