Species of the Month - January 2018
Elegant Script Lichen
belongs to the group known as script lichens, as they look rather like
writing. The most well-known of these is Graphis scripta, which is
common in our area on Hazel and other alkaline-barked trees. It
needs care in identification though. Graphis elegans, which grows
on acid-barked trees, principally Birch, is simple to identify owing to
the way the black linear fruitbodies have multiple furrows along their
In this close-up by
Jan Hamilton from our LNHG field trip to Allt Broighleachan native
pinewood, you can see that each fruitbody is corrugated by several
furrows. Other Graphis species only have one furrow, along the
middle, from which the spores are released. Graphis elegans
doesn't always have as many furrows as the fine specimen above, but it
normally has at least 3, including the central one.
Graphis elegans has
an oceanic distribution and is common in the western half of Britain but
scarce in the east. It does not like dense shade, and grows well on
trees at the edge of a wood. This one is on a coastal birch at
Peeling bark from an old holly by a forestry track,
covered in Graphis elegans. Photo by Zena Henderson on our Glen
Orchy field trip last August.
Another close-up of a well-developed specimen with many furrows, from one of our earliest field trips, on Seil in January 2010.
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