I'm Lichen It
July 18, 2016
I went out for a walk around the block with my FlipView digital microscope, looking for inspiration. After playing with the video function and filming some pollinators I decided to turn my sights onto the tree in my front yard.
It's a maple tree and it has these little notches in the bark that look like freckles. Then I noticed the lichen. I've always been fascinated by lichen, ever since I volunteered at the Archibald Biological Station. Lichen is a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae. Here's a little saying to help you remember it:
Allie Algae and Freddie Fungus fell in love, but now their marriage is on the rocks.
Lichen can present in a dizzying array of forms and colors. I've even seen hot pink lichen. On the maple tree I found a few different kinds. People drove by and looked at me strangely as I used my little microscope, but I'm a certified and professional bugdork- so I am used to people thinking I'm weird.
This lichen looks like chalky antler horns. I love the dark outline that looks like it's charred and burned.
This lichen was on the other side of the tree and the different colors of green were stunning!
I was drawn to the tiny little circular shapes in this picture. There was something really fun about my little 'curiosity exercise.' I've been snorkeling and scuba diving a few times and love the experience. My lichen exploration reminded me of snorkeling, where all the shapes were foreign. The lichen reminded me of a tiny coral garden.