Monday, January 17, 2011

Lung Lichen

Monday, January 17, 2011

Almost 3 PM, with bright sunshine but today's high of 6.1° had not been very rewarding. Alex and I had planned to go ice fishing but the leader in me said "no" to what at that time was still -8°. Instead we headed for Bradford to a store I know as Farm Way. If you haven't been there, it's worth a stop. Their Internet moniker is Vermont Gear and they do in fact have quite a selection. The store sits by the railroad tracks, is an old mill, and has a sign out front reminding people that 43% of its electrical needs are met by a ground mounted solar display out back. The store is proof that the owners are thinkers.

Returned home to happily find a response to a question I posted on my January 2, 2011 blog,
Early Winter Hike.
As we were finishing a New Years Day hike through the Stranahan Memorial Town Forest, a leafy green plant growing out of the side of an ash tree caught my eye. In all my years of being in the woods, I never saw such a thing. I floated the picture on the Internet and asked questions but until today did not have a definitive response.

Brett Engstrom, a local naturalist and very nice fellow, answered my inquiry. He wrote:

"Funny you should send the photo of this lichen from Stranahan. I took a photo of probably the exact same patch of lichen a couple weeks ago. It is lung lichen, Lobaria pulmonaria.Very striking. Not real common with us, but I do find it occasionally on basswood, ash (white and black), and sometimes on sugar maple in moist forests or swamps."

Mystery solved. Try this link to Lichens of North America for some more very interesting information. Understand that on October 7th I blogged about Lichens and Rock Ferns. Guess it's about time to purchase some good guides and take a course or two. Lichens seem everywhere!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond while Gail reads bad news about King County (Seattle) Washington where my son Adam lives. Floods are some contrast to our current +4.2° and the freezing rain that is supposed to arrive late tonight. Best of luck everyone!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
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