I’ve been looking at lichens. As with most of the natural world, the closer you look, the better it gets. All is well – until you try to do a formal identification. Now my head hurts. However, this one is a “Gimme”, as our American cousins say. An abundance of lichens is often an indicator of unpolluted environments, but the Chewing Gum Lichen is one of the commonest urban species, growing on rocks, concrete and other urban substrates such as my garden path that are enriched with nitrogen – such as from bird droppings. I admire the way these little aliens cling to life, and merrily shrug off me walking on them all the time. If we ever wanted to introduce life on Mars, I’d send these chaps.
Chewing Gum Lichen, Lecanora muralis. Sony DSC-HX20V f3.2 4.5mm 1/100 ISO 100
One of our most common lichens.
Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm f16 250mm 1/180 ISO 3200
Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm f22.0 70mm +68mm 1/60 ISO 400
I often struggle with identifying fungi, so when it comes to lichens, I normally don’t bother beyond the basic fruiticose/foliose/crustose distinction. However, when I found this striking specimen recently I thought I’d try looking it up. In this case, it’s an easy one, the relatively unmistakable Xanthoria parietina, the gold shield lichen.
Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm f32 95mm +68mm 1/20 ISO 3200