Boreal Oakmoss (Evernia mesomorpha)
I noticed that Tom (who “invented” the 1000 Species challenge) has spent increasing amounts of time with lichens recently. I had thought to skirt around these as they are, like Gulls, known to be difficult. However, when out birding in a wooded area we happened upon this rather splendid antler-form species and then started spotting them all over the place. Hence the next three days are going to going to be devoted to lichens – which are very interesting things. Note – identifying lichens in winter is not the ideal time as reproductive structures are not exactly evident … must return in spring and summer and look for more.
Note: I puzzled for a long time over the identity of this lichen. It is VERY similar to Oak Moss Lichen (Evernia prunastri) which exists all over the northern hemisphere, mostly on the bark of oak trees but also on firs and pines and a few others. In France it is harvested for fragrant compounds used in perfumes. An expert on iNaturualist confirmed that it is E. mesomorpha … good to know. Apparently what we have here is an immature thallus. Soredia are not delimited in patches as in E. prunastri and smaller branches are not flattened.