Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Beauty at my Feet--Part II: Lichens

Fellow lichen-lover Sparky points out TWO different lichens growing on this rock.  

Lichens are just one of the miracles of nature that I find fascinating. At first, you might think lichens are plants.  They're not. Maybe a fungus?  Well, could be, but that's only partially correct. Lichens are actually composite and symbiotic organisms made up from members of as many as three kingdoms.  Here's a bit more, from one of my favorite lichen sites:  
"The dominant partner is a fungus.  Fungi are incapable of making their own food.  They usually provide for themselves as parasites or decomposers... These lichen fungi cultivate partners that manufacture food by photosynthesis. Sometimes the partners are algae (kingdom Protista), other times cyanobacteria (kingdom Monera), formerly called blue-green algae.  Some enterprising fungi exploit both at once.  
It is estimated that lichens are the dominant vegetation on 8% of the earth's terrestrial surface."  



Lichens growing on a spectacular marble boulder.





10 comments:

The Episcotarian Unipaganist said...

Pink--when I saw the title of this post and then saw the "foot" immediately under it--the first thing that came to mind was "OMG--what happened to her LAIG!?" (I crack myself up--good thing, huh?)

Your teeny-brained pal--EU

Lottery Girl said...

No, my dear EU, I would never in a million think you, of all people, had a tiny brain.

Instead, I would think you had a long and arduous day.

Still pretty funny!

Jenny Graman Meyer said...

Lichens always remind me of my grandparent's farm. When I was a kid, we went almost every weekend. These are my favorite childhood memories.

I don't remember the low-to-the ground lichens from your wonderful pictures. Instead, I remember my mom and grandmother collecting those half-round shelf shaped lichens that grow out of the sides of trees. Not exactly sure now why they collected them (some sort of pre-Martha Stewert home decorating, I'm sure). But lichens always bring back happy childhood memories!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

What beautiful colours in your Beauty at my Feet post photos. Lovely series - asking to be painted.

Lottery Girl said...

Jenny,

Great memory!

I do wonder what they were doing with the lichens. I saw a section about eating lichens, but didn't even click on it. Ick!

Lottery Girl said...

Joan,

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the compliments.

You are just the person to paint these scenes!

Annapurna said...

You take some breathtaking pictures of things a normal person wouldn't even bother to look twice at. I have given you an award. Please come and get it.

A Novel Woman said...

I just came back from the cottage, where I photographed more lichens, and I popped in here to see what my favourite Lottery Girl was doing. So great minds think lichens.(g) I got some great shots of some growing on an old picnic table, and a birch stump. Love the photo of the moon, too.

Lottery Girl said...

Anna,

Thank you so much for your kind comment. You made my day!

Also, I thank you most humbly for the lovely award. I will visit you soon!

Lottery Girl said...

NW,

Thanks for stopping in. I guess great minds love lichens, right? HAHA!