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Forest Lichens

Forest Lichens
Photo Information
Copyright: Steve Reekie (LordPotty) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1381 W: 144 N: 3872] (12503)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-12
Categories: Lichens
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8
Exposure: f/8, 2 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-01-18 14:29
Viewed: 4639
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is a large clump of Pseudocyphellaria lichen, (possibly Pseudocyphellaria billardierei) which can often be found growing from branches high in the forest canopy, or on fine divaricating shrubs and small trees on the forest floor.
They are often also found on the ground, as they often get blown down from the canopy by the wind, along with other epiphytes like orchids and KieKie, the epiphytic pandanus.
On the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, our high rainfall means that our forests are full of lichens like these.
When surrounded by these lush moist lichens and mosses, I feel so refreshed, and it reminds me that our earth can still be a paradise no matter how hellish it can seem at times.

Here is some information about lichens copied from Wikipedia:

Lichens are symbiotic associations of a fungus (the mycobiont) with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont also known as the phycobiont) that can produce food for the lichen from sunlight. The photobiont is usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium. A few lichens are known to contain yellow-green algae or, in one case, a brown alga. Some lichens contain both green algae and cyanobacteria as photobionts; in these cases, the cyanobacteria symbiont component may specialize in fixing atmospheric nitrogen for metabolic use.

The body (thallus) of most lichens is quite different from that of either the fungus or alga growing separately, and may strikingly resemble simple plants in form and growth (Sanders 2001). The fungus surrounds the algal cells, often enclosing them within complex fungal tissues unique to lichen associations; however, in almost all kinds, the algal cells are never enclosed inside the fungal cells themselves. It has been suggested that the phycobiont is sometimes penetrated by haustoria from the mycobiont, but with the development of electron microscopy there is little solid evidence of this, and if true, is an isolated occurrence and in any event is entirely unecessesary. Thus lichens are poikilohydric, that is, capable of surviving extremely low levels of water content. However, the re-configuration of membranes following a period of dehydration requires several minutes at least. During this period a “soup” of metabolites from both the mycobiont and phycobiont leaks into the extracellar spaces. This is readily available to both bionts to uptake essential metabolic products ensuring a perfect level of mutualism showing leaching from the canopy mosses in Guadaloupe of numerous metabolites immediately following rehydration. Not only do the two bionts profit, but also all the other epiphytic organisms from the nutrient rich leachate. This fundamental phenomenon also points to a possible explanation of lichen evolution from its original phycobiont and mycobiont components with its subsequent migration from an aquatic environment to dry land. Thus, during repeated periods of low levels of hydration in an alga and the resultant leakage of beneficial metabolites to an adjacent aquatic fungus, the mutalistic “marriage” slowly became constant.

In the natural environment, lichen “provides” the alga with water and minerals that the fungus absorbs from whatever the lichen is growing on, its substrate. As for the alga, it uses the minerals and water to make food for the fungus and itself.

Morphology and structure:
Lichens are often the first to settle in places lacking soil, constituting the sole vegetation in some extreme environments such as those found at high mountain elevations and at high latitudes.Some survive in the tough conditions of deserts, and others on frozen soil of the Arctic regions.Recent ESA research shows that lichen can even endure extended exposure to space.Some lichens have the aspect of leaves (foliose lichens); others cover the substrate like a crust (crustose lichens), others such as the genus Ramalina adopt shrubby forms (fruticose lichens), and there are gelatinous lichens such as the genus Collema.

Thanks for looking,

jusninasirun, eqshannon, Dis. Ac., Argus, ferranjlloret, boreocypriensis, JORAPAVI, haraprasan has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Steve,
I hope you could avoid Fur seals attacks. A lichen is definitely safer.
I wasn't aware their morphology and structure could be so different.
Photo wise it generates some kind of abstract work.

Hi Steve,

The lichens looks interesting here at the forest ground. I have encountered some species in coarse texture as you shown us here. Very good framing and well controlled exposure. Useful notes and TFS.


  • Dis. Ac. Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1824 W: 5 N: 7663] (24509)
  • [2009-01-18 21:27]

Hi Steve,

nic presentation of the Lichen.
Good of details with beautiful natural colours.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-01-19 2:59]

Superb lichen capture Steve!
Not only that the lichen itself is attractive but the image itself is well taken with fine sharpness and the central composition showing its habitat and growth pattern is great.
The Pseudocyphellaria genus is new to me an is not found in Europe but it reminds me of a species called Pulmonaria that requires clean damp air and the right tree trunk to grow on.

Hello Steve,
He is very interesting to be able to see lichens of the world across (for my). A very pretty photo, splendid colors. TFS. Best regards.

Hi Steve,
An excellent macro capture of this large clump of forest lichens from a nice POV. Great details, colours and composition.
TFS this fine image and cheers,

Ps. In these days i am so bussy since we entered the exam period. Thus i could be late for commenting. Sorry for this.

Hola Steve,
Excelente macro de este curiosos liquen que nos muestras con gran nitidez y todo lujo de detalles. Magnífica la nota informativa. Saludos
José Ramón

Namastay Steve,
A nice capture of this beautiful lichen. Very well composed shot with sharp details and taken from a fine POV. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-01-21 5:57]

Hi Steve,
looks very unique and exciting. I have never seen it before and never give a thought about its pattern and features.
lovely discovery.


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