365 Nature – Day 55

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


During the winter months, when the leaves drop away from the branches, there is one thing that is very easy to see. Lichens. They are hidden among the densely packed leaves during the summer months and hard to find. It’s when the leaves have been stripped away you can see just how many lichens live on a single tree. Not all trees have lichens, many evergreens have none at all while some deciduous trees positively drip in lichens. When they do grow on a tree, it’s not just a single species, there can be many different types on a single branch.

Lichens are hard to tell apart and my one-day lichen class last summer was just enough to teach me how much I don’t know. However there is one thing I did learn, that there are three main ‘types’ of lichens. Crustose are those which can be mistaken for the bark of the tree. They are often found on rocks and the only way to remove them is with a chisel. Foliose lichens loosely resemble leaves. They have a more leafy appearance and the bottom and top surfaces are different. Fructicose are more like beards, they grow in hanging or grow up like shrubs. Their stems are rounded with no top or bottom surfaces.

Today I took photos with my phone of many of the lichens I found on our short walk from car to forest classroom and you’ll find them in the slideshow above.

 

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She founded The Metropolitan Field Guide in 2009 and has contributed articles to aincluding Crosscut, ParentMap and National Wildlife Magazine. She holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

She is currently writing a book about urban nature to be published by Mountaineers Books in 2019.
Kelly Brenner
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