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terrestrial lichen

Posted by sitting_boy california zone 8 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 22, 12 at 21:05

I have been for some time intrigued by lots of different kinds of lichens but my favorite are terrestrial ones so called "dog lichen". A few days ago I found a specimen of them about 1 foot in diameter growing on clay soil with a bit of moss on it. They were so beutiful I decided to take a small bit of it about 2 inches wide from the center of the patch, making sure to take some substrate with it. I have 2 questions. What is the best way to harvest them for both the environment and for keeping them alive? What is the best way to keep them alive and grow them? I planted mine in a shallow 6 inch clay pot on some dirt and compost. I hope they can continue to grow. I do not have a picture of them right now but this link is of almost exactly the same kind in a forest only a few miles away from where I collected these.

Also slightly unrelated, but can epiphytic lichens that were broken from their "anchor" continue to grow? I mean the kinds that are not adjoined to the bark but hang from it.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: terrestrial lichen

The main thing with lichens is air quality. No air pollutants are tolerated. If you are out in the country away from roads or BBQs then you may be able to keep them alive for a while. I think I have kept some alive for about a year.
I would think that dirt is not the stuff you want to use in planting your lichen. the image is of one growing over moss. I would attempt to use a moss bedding before using dirt.
On epiphytic lichens I have not heard of anyone who has suceeded using broken off branches but then who knows. Perhaps there is some info in the study in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marlene Liden study on epiphytic lichens in Sweden

RE: terrestrial lichen

Wow. Great link, I will have to read it later. I do live pretty much out in the country, so hopefully the air is not a problem. However, I would wonder if decomposing compost or dirt would actually simulate poor air quality, killing the lichen. The other times I have seen this kind of lichen it was growing on moss, so maybe that is a better idea, as it would probably make the air slightly better compared to compost no? Perhaps I will split the specimen in two and plant one with compost and one with moss as an experiment. About the epiphytes, the main reason I was asking was because one kind of native lichen I beleive called "lace lichen", which I have observed growing several feet in length, sometimes easily tears from the rest of itself and falls to the ground, so I was wondering if torn pieces would still grow not anchored to a branch. My initial guess would be yes, because that adaptation would come in handy if a piece fell onto another suitable branch and was able to continue reproducing.

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