Tuesday, March 16, 2010
We see this lichen here all the time, only usually without quite so many things on it. The technical name for the things is apothecia. If that's exciting to you, you may want to look here for related technical terms. I spent way too much time there, following links and trying to figure out what was meant when they said something was shaped like a skittle. The candy or a British bowling pin?
Anyway, I finally identified the lichen: Bushy beard lichen; Old man’s beard; Usnea strigosa.
I haven't found a good southern or eastern North American lichen identification site. I was lucky and happened on a page that told me that this "is the only Southern Usnea with large, pale, terminal apothecia."1
The Ohio Moss and Lichen Association has some good photos, including this one that shows what Usnea strigosa more commonly looks like. But there's no key. Let me know if you find a good lichen site.
1If you could actually get the pdf file to come up, it might be useful. I had to make do with the hodge-podge cached html version.