Thursday, 12 February 2015

Loving Lichens

As it's fast approaching Valentine's Day we thought we would go down a different route and instead of  the usual stuff associated with this day of romance we are going to talk about Lichen……stay with us you will see the link. (albeit tenuous)
Whilst walking through beautiful southern Scotland, we spotted many trees sporting growths that looked weirdly beard-like - Lichens! Although Lichens are not actually plants they can appear to have leafy or bushy growths and these growths demonstrate a healthy symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus.
The two pertinent parts benefit each other - the fungus benefits from the food produced by the photosynthesis carried out by the algae and this in turn is protected by the fungus which also gathers moisture and nutrients and can also provide the anchorage to host plants and trees.

The amazing growths of Lichen is in fact an indicator of clean air and they can be long lived with some considered to be among the oldest living things. 

Bless 'em what a perfect couple Fungus and Algae makes!