Beard Lichen

Usnea

Another epiphyte observed on the morning dog walk. Beard Lichen looks so similar to Spanish Moss that the scientific name for Spanish moss is derived from it’s name. Biologically it would hard to be any more different. Spanish Moss is a plant, Beard Lichen, like all lichen, is a symbiosis of a fungus and an algae.

Beard Lichen grows off the ground, often on tree branches. It appears as a scraggly hair like growth up to 20cm long, it’s also known as “woman’s long hair” and “old mans beard” all good visual descriptions. It’s soft and flexible to touch and is light green in colour. Beard Lichen needs light to grow, it’s often found on sick or dead trees due to the the light permitted by the reduced canopy, but the  lichen itself does not damage the tree.

Beard Lichen has antibiotic properties, it’s been used for 100’s of years to treat wounds.

Beard Lichen. Spotted on the morning dog walk, it’s not hard to see how it got it’s name
Beard Lichen growing up the trunk of Bottle Brush tree

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