Identification: what is it?

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by orangespot, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. orangespot

    orangespot Member

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    I know this is a fairly common thing that grows on the bark of dying trees, but I'd like to know the name of it.
    In fact, I'm not even sure if it's a lichen or a moss. I think the gray scaley stuff it grows with, is a lichen, but the sponge-like tufts look more like a moss. They seem to always be found together - are they connected?
    It is pretty and I'm wondering if I could cultivate it in order to use for floral arrangements and crafts.

    Thanks
     

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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2006
  2. Geastrum

    Geastrum Active Member

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    You have several lichens there. The resolution of the pictures makes it hard for me to be sure, but here are my guesses. If the tufted one is made up of cylindrical branches, it is from the genus Usnea. If the body of the lichen is actually made up of flat, strap-like structures that have different colors on the top and bottom it could be Platismatia stenophylla or maybe P. herrei.

    If the other lichen is hollow and has a smooth, black underside, it is the genus Hypogymnia. Do you know if the bottom has any hairs or "roots?"

    If you are interested in lichen IDs, I suggest the book Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest by Bruce McCune and Linda Geiser. It has pictures and keys for many common species.
     
  3. Kildale

    Kildale Active Member

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    I have taken a few photos of the mosses and lichens in the North West, perhaps they may help you to ID them in your area. Just named photos, no adds etc. MOSS LICHENS
     
  4. orangespot

    orangespot Member

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    wow! thanks for the great replies. The photos from your post Kildale, are awesome.
    But how can I differentiate between waxpaper lichen and tattered rag?
    They look exactly the same. Really, from your pics, there's no difference. Some of the lichens on my pics look just like these.
    But the ones I'm really, trying to identify are the fluffy types. Which, I think are reindeer moss (Cladina portentosa), from your link, Kildale. Still, so many lichens look alike, how can anyone really identify these things?
    Sorry I took so long to reply back, but I had to borrow a camera, because mine is not very good as you can see from my pictures. I took a few more pics and I'm a terrible photographer, but maybe these will shed some light on the subject.
     

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  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    In terms of the fluffy lichens, pictures two and three almost certainly show a species of Usnea.

    To answer the question of how you can be certain, see the write-up for this Botany Photo of the Day (it requires a chemistry set!).
     

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