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Lichen: Evernia prunastri

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Lichen: Evernia prunastri

Take a walk in the woods in winter when the leaves are gone from the trees and there does not seem much to see. Point a camera with a close up lens various things and just see what you might get! 

This amazing lichen, Evernia prunastri, is very common and I have no doubt we all pass it by with hardly a glance. It may look brittle but it is actually soft and flexible. It is one of the foliose type of lichen, that is having features resembling foliage. This is a fairly polution tolerant lichen and so is widespread and can be found on deciduous trees across the country, not just across Dorset, and it is very often found on oak trees hence being known as oak moss in some quarters. 
 
It may be insignificant an you may have never taken much notice of it but it has been used as a fixative for perfume, as a dying agent, it was once ground up to make a hair powder and was also used as wadding in shotguns. Nowadays it is a known source of usnic acid and is used in the production of antibiotics. It is also the preferred lichen used by long-tailed tits in their nests!
 
So, next time you take a winter walk in the  woods, why not take a closer look at the lichens, you find more than you bargained on.

 

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 6 months ago

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