My post was way back on Day 14 - World in a Wall - and was all about the things I found in a wall at Rievalux Abbey on a misty Autumn day. It was mainly lichen and since then I have found lots more lichen and some of them look like mini forests. Well these are such amazing organisms that I thought it was worth revisiting them and sharing some of my newer photos with you.Forests in miniature! Don't forget to look at the small stuff when out and about in the #NorthYorkMoors pic.twitter.com/ab1KuBvuva— North York Moors NP (@northyorkmoors) 7 March 2016
|This is the most amazing mini forest I found |
- this is a Caldonia Lichen
- Lichens are technically an inanimate symbiosis, basically two living organisms coming together to make a type of composite organism.
- Another way to describe them is just to say that they are an extremely successful partnership between a fungus and an alga.
- There have been several colonies that have been found to be over 9,000 years old! That's in the times of the Ancient Egyptians...
|Lovely lichen with fruiting bodies |
- Xanthoria polycarpa
- ...Well why did I bring the Egyptians up? Well, back in Ancient Egyptian times, Lichens were used as packing for the mummies!
- Some Lichens are thought to be among the oldest living organisms on earth.
- That means that we still could have living versions of what were used in 7000 BCE!
- The largest lichens have been known to grow up to 1 metre long in their 'thallus' (the 'vegetative bits of the lichen) although most are usually just a few centimetres.
- Lichens often grow in areas of exposure that frequently experience droughts and sometimes places that experience extreme hot or cold.
|This is a beard or hair lichen - Usnea rubicunda I think|
- By what I've found from the last few facts you might expect to find them in an African desert. I expect there are some there but I have found lots in my trips around Yorkshire and Northumberland, some of which are in my pictures.
- There are more than 1,700 different species of lichen in just Britain alone, I myself don't know exactly how many I have seen, but it must be over 100. They are hard to identify but I have tried with a few of my images.
|A strap type lichen - Ramalina farinacea ?|
- Worldwide, though there are 18,000 described species of lichen.
- They are very varied in their requirements too. Some species will live in a wide variety of places and conditions but others need very precise conditions. Some for instance like the salty conditions of the sea shore.
- Lichens don't like pollution, especially sulphur dioxide which was present in a lot of cities in the 19th century as a lot more coal was burned. This chemical dissolved in rain causes acid rain and this was the cause of lichens disappearing from cities.
- Apparently one lichen, the pollution lichen, Lecanora conizaeoides wasn't affected and thrived!
- Most Lichens grow very slowly, only around 1mm per year.
|There was so much of the orange/yellow lichen on the coast|
near Craster, I think it is Xanthoria aureola
- Some lichens take a long time to spread and can only be found in ancient woodlands because of this.
Here are some links to some more information:
Hope you enjoyed,