Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Unusual Lichen

Lichenomphalina umbellifera
Yes. This is a lichen. It is a symbiotic relationship between a blue-green alga and a fungus. This symbiosis is inconspicuous and probably can only be seen under the microscope (thin filaments of hyphae woven around balls of algae). However you can see the algae in this photo as it is the green stuff covering the yellowish coloured sphagnum moss. The fruiting body of the fungus is the white (or cream-coloured) mushroom. It fruits every spring and fall on the ground or on rotting logs. It is my belief that it grows in nutrient rich areas of the bog, such as those near the edges, or in newly restored plots that still contain nutrients from the layer of top soil that was removed.