Under all that snow

Pixie cups in winter 

There is green under the snow. Like these Pixie Cups (Cladonia pyxidata)

British Soldiers

There’s red too. Like these “British Soldiers” (Cladonia cristatella). The plant was named after the fighting men of the royal army and their scarlet battle uniforms.

Matchstick Moss

This curious plant is also known as “Matchstick Moss”, but they’re not moss, they’re lichens.

“Freddie Fungus and Alice Algae took a “lichen” to each other and now live together in “sym-biosis”, but their union is “on the rocks” or so the old tale goes. Lichens are actually two organisms joined into one plant. They don’t go away in the winter, Lichens go into dormancy until the next growing season. Lichens grow very slowly and they’re also a good indicator of a healthy environment. They won’t grow where there is a lot of pollution.

http://flickr.com/photos/dougcwaylett/2979208652/in/set-72157608430135912/ here’s a great set of photos taken in Canada. We have many of these species here in northern Minnesota.

Then when I was done snapping the above photos, the weirdest thing happened. I saw a “Pixie” emerge from a moss covered stump. You know those mischievous little sprites that inhabit the forest. He was dressed all in green velvet with a pointy hat and pointy ears that stuck outside of his hat. He came and snatched one of the pixie cups and made a toast to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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