Saturday, December 13, 2014

I Like Lichens

Today I took a leisurely hike in the Mathews/Winters Park near Golden and took time to admire the various lichens on the rocks.

Wikipedia, in its ungainly way, informs us that lichens are complicated thingies:  "A lichen is a composite organism that emerges from algae or cyanobacteria  (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship. The whole combined life form has properties that are very different from properties of its component organisms. Lichens come in many colors, sizes, and forms. The properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants."

Green lichens are so prevalent that many of the boulders have a greenish hue.

Individual lichens come in many colors: pale green, yellow-green, white, black, dark green, and orange.

Toward the end of my hike I spotted this rock covered with many strange lichens.  Or are they mosses?  Or marine creatures that have lost their way?

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