Trumpet Lichen (Cladonia fimbriata)
It’s like looking into an alien world, but it our world, and the world of lichen. This trumpet lichen grows on the bough of an old willow by my local river, and it is a bit like looking in on an alien landscape. This is a tiny grey-green cup-shaped lichen. Closer inspection reveals a rough, granulated appearance. This lichen is composed of a fungus and an algae which form a symbiotic relationship, where both life forms benefit each other. The trumpet-shaped podetia (cup-like structure) holds the apothecium (reproductive structure) and helps aid in spreading the lichen’s spores when raindrops splash down inside them. Podetia 6 to 30mm tall, 2 to 6mm diameter cups.
Found on soil and rotting wood. Common and widespread.
Looking closer at the image below the lichen can just about be seen growing amongst the thick mat of moss on this large willow branch.
Photograph of Trumpet Lichen (Cladonia fimbriata) taken February 2012, by local river, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.