Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fairy Puke

If you go to the back of the bog, to the area that was cleared in the early 2000's, which is now covered in mounds and hillocks of sphagnum moss, you will see a most interesting organism. It looks like greenish-grey dust covered in pink spots. It's common name, I kid you not, is Fairy Puke.
The scientific name is Icmadophila ericetorum. Fairy Puke grows on rotting logs and stumps. It is a lichen. What is a lichen you say? A lichen is a fungus that has discovered agriculture. The fungus provides a habitat for a photosynthetic algae to grow, and in return, the fungus receives sugars from the algae so it can grow and reproduce.
The body of the lichen is blue-green because of the colour of the algae. The pink structures are the reproductive structures of the fungus, called apothecia. They are somewhat cup-shaped and spores are produced and released from these structures. So now you can say you've seen Fairy Puke!