Saturday, April 19, 2014

Crustose Lichen

A lichen is not a flower, but it can be interesting and pretty enough to take a picture. These photographs were taken in April of 2014 on a walk through Pawnee Prairie Park in Wichita, Kansas.

Lichen, crustose with spore pods (capsule)

Xanthoria parietina, whose color ranges from golden to orange, is conspicuous on rocks and trees often forming a thick shield. Observe the dark grey to black portions of the lichen which are dead.

Xanthoria parietina with spore pods (capsule)
A lichen is not one but two symbiotic plants, usually a combination of fungus and algae. The fungus surrounds the algae protecting its cells and providing water and nutrients. In return, the algae, as in plants, reduce carbon dioxide into carbon sugars to feed both symbionts.

Xanthoria parietina lichen on tree bark
Lichen forming crusts firmly attached to the rocks and trees, on which they grow so that they can't be removed without damage are called crustose lichen because of their crust-like appearance.

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