On Sunday Eddie our 'in residence' volunteer of a mere 40 years asked me a question about lichen that co-incidentally I had just been reading about! 'Is this a fungus' he asked, showing me a groovy digital picture on his camera of a lichen alongside some orange discs that are like a fungi and which are relatively common on our elder tree's. Any offers of identification would be welcome btw.
Well err yes and no I said (and I'm as thick as a Yorkshire pudding batter), its complicated so I said I'd post it on the blog as it is very interesting. So here goes...........
Lichens are made up of two, and some times three, different organisms from three different Kingdoms, which form a symbiotic relationship with each other for their mutual survival.The dominant member is a ascomycetous fungus (Kingdom Fungi), which is capable of making it's own food. The fungus forms the visible portion of lichen inside of which, and protected by them, are cells of an algae (kingdom Protista) or some times cyanobacteria (Kingdom Monera), once known as blue-green algae. Some lichen can consist of all three organisms at once.The algae provide nutrients, as they contain the pigment chlorophyll, which it uses during photosynthesis to produce carbohydrates the same way as green plants do. Thus the fungus obtains nutrients from the algae, the fungal tissue in turn provides shelter for the algae allowing it to grow in harsh conditions such as rock surfaces where it would otherwise be destroyed.
...informative, and easy to understand after i've read it a few times....i love fungi!
for info the lichen is common orange