Symbiosis. We’re likin’ it

Thank you…

Flowerdale Landcare

Leafy and flat lichen together Leafy and flat lichen together

A feature of our landscape we tend to take for granted, yet is found everywhere (in the world), is lichen. Lichen is an organism resulting from a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship between a fungus and either an algae or a particular bacteria. Like all good partnerships each contributes something to the union. The fungus part extracts minerals from the rocks or vegetation to which the lichen is attached, and it retains water. The algal part is photosynthetic and provides sugars by converting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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DSCN7654Simplistically, lichens can be grouped by their form. These include leafy (foliose), hair-like (filamentous), flat (crustose) and powdery (leprose). Just as other fungi are now starting to produce spore-bearing fruits (mushrooms) in the cooler weather, the fungi part of the lichen is doing the same. In the photos (right and below) a close look will reveal saucer-shaped…

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