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Lichen: Cladonia portentosa, reindeer lichen

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Lichen: Cladonia portentosa, reindeer lichen

I find lichen identification extremely difficult and if anyone has any tips I would love to hear them. However, there is one lichen I think anyone can identify. All you have to do is walk out on to one the Dorset heaths and look amongst the heather and in no time at all you will find 'reindeer lichen', Cladonia portentosa. It is a very common species in heathery habitats

Strictly speaking this is not the species that is a favourite food of ... reindeer. That is a different but related species found only in the acrtic tundra. Howver, I am all for simple names that are easy to remember so there is no harm in calling it reindeer lichen! After all, it has a proper scientific name to avoid confusion or has it? In some books this can be listed as Cladonia impexa as some lichens are being reclassified after DNA analysis reveals more about them and their relationship to other lichens.
 
This may not be much look at at first glance but get down close, add a bit of magnification and you have this wondrous mass of intricate 'branchlets' that spread out in all directions to make delicate, fluffy, tufted mats. 
 

 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 11 months ago

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