Species of the Month - March 2018
Reindeer Lichen is an elegant multi-branched whitish to pale blue lichen, usually found growing with heather. It occurs on bogs, heathland and peaty moorland. It can also sometimes be found on mossy walls, fallen trees and rocky roadside banks. At Tralee beach it grows on damp sand among marram.
photo by Jan Hamilton from our April 2017 LNHG field trip, Reindeer
Lichen is growing on a heathery trackside bank. There are several
Cladonia species that could be confused with Reindeer Lichen, though
they are all much less common than it. Most of them have all the
branch tips turned in one direction, as if they had been swept by a
strong wind. As this photo shows, Reindeer Lichen has
branches growing in all directions.
Reindeer Lichen often forms large round cushions, but it can also
occur as several scattered small pieces like this one.
The stems are
repeatedly branched, dividing into 2 to 4 branches each time, often with
a hole in the centre from which the branches radiate. With each
successive branching, the branches become thinner and shorter, until at
the very tips there are minute branches, often with brown reproductive
bodies called pycnidia on the end of them.
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