Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Dr. Seuss-ish world of Cladonias

Cladonia pyxidata complex, photo by Robyn Wright-Strauss
This month I'd like to share some photos of the Cladonia lichens.  There are many species in this group, but many look distinct enough to identify the species.  These odd shaped lichens are unique and interesting.  Since they look like Dr. Seuss images, you might as well read about them in Dr. Seuss form!
Cladonia lichens generally grow with squamules below, and sometimes form stalks (podetia) that stick up into odd shapes.

A peculiar lichen with the genus Cladonia
I'm sure you've seen 'em, if I knew you, I'da shown ya!
Some statuesque, with stalks slender and tall,
British soldiers, Cladonia cristatella

Some come short, with no stalks at all.
Yellow-tongued cladonia, Cladonia robinsii
They sometimes look like tiny cities under seas...
Some old logs are covered with Cladonias of many species. Photo by Robyn Wright-Strauss
And sometimes look like an army of fuzzy golf tees.
Pixie cups, Cladonia pyxidata

One looks like a trumpet, inside a trumpet, inside a trumpet...
Ladder lichen, Cladonia cervicornis 

Ladder lichen, Cladonia cervicornis

Another like a floor covered in toast, cracker, or crumpet! (Lame line, I know, but I just couldn't dump it.)
Stalkless cladonia, Cladonia apodocarpa
One is so tangled a beetle couldn't get through...
Dixie reindeer lichen, Cladonia subtenuis
Another so open it couldn't block the wind if it blew.
Common powderhorn, Cladonia coniocraea

Most grow in the woods and very few are urban...
Even though some are fashionable with berets or a turban.
Southern soldiers, Cladonia didyma
Turban lichen, Cladonia peziziformis Photo by Robyn Wright-Strauss

Search the ground next time you're in a forest full of trees,
you should find Cladonias if you get down on your hands and knees.
Fence-rail cladonia,  Cladonia parasitica.  Some lichens need chemical tests to determine i.d.
 Photo by Robyn Wright-Strauss.

These small fungus are harmless, they won't bite, sting or poke us,
By the way, thanks to Robyn for some pics I couldn't get in focus!

Posted by: Mark Zloba