Almost 20 inches of snow kept this person home, doing a nature hike through her picture files. I definitely have no shortage of files.
Mosses and lichens grow high on the rocky hills on Shawnee National Forest land south of my rural property. That’s where these pictures came from.
The following lichens are in a group called fruticose lichens. They are distinguished by miniature branched stalks or by being somewhat bushy.
Meet British Soldiers lichen,
also called red cap.
They also go by the name scientific name Cladonia cristatella. The red cap is the fruiting body of the lichen.
Brown cap ( Cladonia capitata) resembles the red cap. They’re much less common here. Their stalks were less than 1/2 inch tall.
These pixie cups are so cute. I don’t know enough about them to determine which species of Cladonia they are.
This last fruticose lichen is called reindeer moss. Obviously, we don’t have reindeer in southern Illinois to eat it. I’m unable to find it’s scientific name.
Lichens are actually two plants — a fungus and algae – growing together in a symbiotic relationship. The fungus provides the algae a place to live, and the algae provides food for the lichen.