Coral Lichen

Cladia retipora

A few months ago I took the boys for a ride on the center track in Ku-ring-gai National Park. We all had a great time on the way out and a good play on a large sandstone pavement that crosses the path. They were pretty tired by then, the trip back wasn’t as happy! Even though it’s quite close to the local bush there were many plants that I’ve not seen in Garigal.

I found something that was completely unfamiliar, have a look at the photo:

Coral Lichen – Key for scale.

It was just by the side of the path on an exposed ridge top. You can see by the car key it was quite small, it had a networked branching structure that looked like it was made from an open sponge like material with holes all through it. It was tough to identify, I thought it was either a lichen or a fungus, it turned out to be a lichen, which is actually a symbiosis of a fungus and an algae! This one is a Cladia retipora, known as Coral Lichen. It’s been difficult to find detailed information but it appears it’s a common lichen that is found in Australia from Cairns in North Queensland following the coast south and around to Adelaide, with extensive records all through Tasmania. It’s also been recorded on the West Australian coast near Perth.

Coral Lichen close up
Happy times on pavement. It didn’t last.

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