It’s amazing how I often find myself on a walk around the reserves taking it all in but then suddenly honing in on one particular element of bog life. This Saturday I was rather taken by the lichen at Flanders Moss. It really seemed to stand out on what was a very dreich and drizzly morning. But dreich and drizzly is great for bogs and the colours come alive.
Lichen are so fascinating. Plantlife describes them as “an association between a fungus and a photosynthetic partner”. The fungus is the main body of the lichen and the photosynthetic partner is usually a green alga or a type of bacteria. They work in partnership supporting each other to live each with their own particular role – the fungus part to provide water and protection and the photosynthetic part supplying the nutrients.
Lichens are really important for biodiversity and can tell us a lot about a habitat. They are a great indicator species, telling us about the air quality as most types prefer clean air whilst others are adapted to coping with certain pollutants. They can also be used in dating methods (look up lichenometry if you want to know more).
Here are some pictures of a few of the species I captured today both out on the moss and in the surrounding woodland. I’ve had a go at identifying the species of the lichen on this blog but please feel free to correct me in the comments if you know better!