I came a cross these names –  Usnea, Melanelixia, Leafy Xanthoria,  Evernia,  Flavoparmelia,  Cushion Xanthoria, Hypogymnia, Parmelia,  Physcia, and given the featured image and my newly found love of lichens you might guess that is what they are, lichens. I just think they are wonderful and attractive and I keep taking pictures of them… but perhaps I am also taking pictures of mosses and algae without realising and just lumping them altogether as lichen… I must investigate and be more systematic, maybe I need a guide-book?

Apparently there are three sorts of lichen, bushy, leafy and crusty. They are a very accurate indicator of air quality, some are nitrogen lovers, and some are nitrogen sensitive, and some can grow pretty much anywhere.

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Lovely lichen, I don’t know what it is yet!

According to the Natural History Museum:

Lichens are composite organisms made up of a fungus and one or more algae living together. The algal partner produces essential nutrients for the lichen through photosynthesis, while the fungal partner provides the body in which they both live. The fungus produces spores in fruiting bodies (apothecia), which must germinate and find an algal partner before they can form a new lichen. In order to avoid this difficult stage many lichens produce minute fragments containing both partners, which can quickly colonise available habitats. These fragments can appear either as finger-like outgrowths (isidia) or sugar-like granules (soredia).

White lichen and green... maybe moss?

White lichen and green… maybe moss?

Lichen names

Very few lichens have common names, but each lichen species has its own Latin name, e.g.Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fr.

Like your name, Latin names have two parts. The first part is the name of the genus in which closely related lichens belong, like your surname (eg Xanthoria). The second part is the species name, like your first name, which belongs to organisms sharing the same features (eg parietina). After the lichen name is the abbreviated names of the person(s) who named the species (in this case L. for Linnaeus and Th. Fr. for Theodor Fries).

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One thought on “Melanelixia, Parmelia and friends

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