How many lichens can you find on a short twig? I brought home two twigs from the last outing.

First twig! It is about five inches long. So how many different species can you find on this twig? Hint, there are two fruticose lichens, several foliose and multiple crustose lichens.

Here is a close view of the two different species of the fruticose lichens. They are the ones that are shrubby. In this example, the tallest one is Palmetto Lichen (Ramalina celastri). It has the apothecia (the white disks) on the “leaves”. So the other fruticose lichen, Sinewed Ramalina (Ramalina americana) has the white apothecia at the ends of branches. The orange one to the left of the Ramalina is a foliose lichen, most likely a Candelaria species.

Another fruticose lichen is this orange Teloschistes species.

A foliose Parmotrema species!

Next is this closeup of the twig. It has a foliose lichen on top and crustose lichen on the bottom. The top one is Physcia species! In this case, the apothecia is black and is pruinose (frosty-like).

Yet another crustose lichen. Its spores are embedded in perithecia (where the spores are located). From the surface, they looks like tiny black dots.

Next is this crustose lichen with brown apothecia with light colored margin.

The second twig had these beauties on it. The hairy one is Whiskered Shadow Lichen (Phoeophyscia hispidula). The hairs are called cilia. The other with the brown apothecia is a Punctelia species.

So this is the last photo for today, a close up of the cilia! To sum up the lichen blog today, look closely and you will most likely see many species!

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


  1. This post is fascinating. Do you know what possible conditions encourage so many lichens to colonize such a small space?

    1. I do not know and have often wondered. Sometimes I will find two trees next to each other, and one is loaded with lichens and the other almost bare. If I ever run across a paper I will let you know.

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