Monday, March 7, 2011

Harbins Park: Day of the Fungi (Part 2)

After I turned onto the emergency exit (C ) and walked down to the hiking trail (D) and over to the equestrian trail (F), I started to see lichens – a lot of lichens. There are an enormous number of lichens and I’m not an expert at identifying them. Any corrections to my guess are more than welcome.

I started to see these lichens after I turned onto the emergency exit trail. They became thicker and more common as I walked down towards the river. The guide to common lichens on the Georgia Piedmont suggests that this is probably the Dixie Reindeer lichen, Cladina (Cladonia) subtenuis.

A closer view

A close up.

I found a few small patches of the Crowned Pixie-cup lichen (Cladonia carneola) on rotting logs.

A closer view.

This appears to be the Peg lichen (Cladonia sobolescens). I found these on a mound of soil covered with moss in the same area where I found the Crowned Pixie-cup lichens. This lichen resembles the British Soldier lichen (Cladonia cristatella) which have red fruiting bodies and which I'd seen in January.

Areas around the overlook over the Alcovy River were covered with carpets of the Dixie Reindeer lichen.

I think these are the Perforated Ruffle lichen (Parmotrema perforatum). I saw these on the trunk of a tree along the Miller Lake Trail in Mulberry Creek Park and they are on trees in our field where they are blue-green with brown cups. I was struck by the fact that these were greenish with green-brown cups. The lichen in the lower photo was on a fallen branch in the humid area around the river viewing platform. The lichen in the lower photo was on a limb further along the trail where the air was drier.

The hiking trail climbed back up onto the ridge with open, drier woods with fewer lichens although I did find this.

For some reason I’m finding a lot of Old Man’s Beard lichen (Usnea strigosa) this year. Usually I find clumps lying along the trail. These photos clearly show the attachment of the lichen to a fallen tree limb and the fruiting bodies.

There were very few fungi high on the ridge towards the end
of the trail I took.

The most artistic find of the day was a cluster of gilled mushrooms on this stump.

The final gem of the day was this sighting of some Witch's butter (Tremella mesenterica). It had dried a little in the wind but was a welcome splash of color in an otherwise brown woods.

So a trek just to enjoy the walk became a trek of discovery of a rich trove of fungal friends.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- University of Georgia, Center for Remote Sensing and Mapping Science, Georgia Lichens Project: A Guide to Twelve Common & Conspicuous Lichens of Georgia’s Piedmont

- Discover Life: Cladonia

- Stephen Sharnoff Photography: Lichens

Related posts:
- Harbins Park: Day of the Fungi (Part 1)

- Gwinnett County-Harbins Park: Trail Trip #1 (Part 2)

- Gwinnett County: Little Mulberry Park – Miller Lake Trail


Ontario Wanderer said...

Nice series of photos! I have a good book on lichens but it seems so complicated that I have not spent too much time trying to use it yet. I have spent a lot more time with wild flowers (i.e. over 60 years) and am still finding new ones to identify so perhaps lichens will have to wait for another lifetime, if I am so lucky.

JSK said...

They seem very complicated to me too. I'm cheating a little; the University of Georgia has a pdf of the 12 most common lichens in Georgia's Piedmont where we live.
I was excited at how many lichens I found fruiting at the same time and just had to have a go at naming them.