Thursday, January 13, 2005

Growing lichens part 2

Amazingly there is a lot of infomation about lichens out there. Here are some of the more interesting sites but not much about growing or propagating them.

From the Smithsonian website

Erik Acharius website Beautiful pictures

Lichens of North America book website

Of course the Brits have their own lichen society The British Lichen Society

And from the site

Some growing information

Burke's Backyard
Caring for lichens in your garden

"Pollution and human damage are hard on lichens. Because they are slow growing, lichens take time to become established. If you are building and lichens are going to be destroyed by your new home or garden, it is possible to move them to a similar environment where they'll gradually re-establish. As with all native plants, they should never be removed from protected areas such as national parks.

Lichens and mosses only grow in areas where the air is clean and will not flourish in gardens in polluted inner-city suburbs. They look distinctive growing on rocks along a garden path or on the trunks of trees. The best way to reproduce them in your own garden is to break off pieces, place them where you wish them to grow, and keep them moist. Watering rocks will also encourage algae, mosses and lichens to grow."

And from the backyard nature site

Lichens reproduce in two main ways:

* The fungus part produces reproductive structures that further produce spores. If a spore lands and germinates, and the resulting hypha finds the right species of alga in the neighborhood, the hypha will grow through the algal cells and a new lichen will start developing.

* By asexual (vegetative) techniques. One asexual strategy is that of fragmentation, which simply involves a piece of a lichen breaking off and this fragment then grows into a new lichen. Lichens also produce on their surfaces microscopic, dust-like particles composed of one or several algal cells closely enveloped by fungus hyphae. These are known as soredia. Each soredium can produce a new plant. Lichen fragments and soredia can be transported great distances by wind and water."

So there you have it. I'll try scraping some off the one rock I have that has lichen growing on it and paste it onto other rocks. What will the neighbors think now? What is that wacko doing? First he paints white goop all over the rocks and now he's doing who knows what to the rocks. Rocks in the head I tell you.


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