Ted and Judy

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Lichen Spotting – A Bush Walking Pleasure

Fruticose lichens and mosses coating an Acacia

Fruticose lichens and mosses coating an Acacia

Lichen spotting while bushwalking has developed as a pleasure for Judy and I when out and about. What started as a casual observation as we walked has become a more focused approach with a greater appreciation of their variety and beauty. Lichen spotting now forms one of the many activities that enrich our bushwalking experience. It is also an activity that we do automatically in the urban environment – lichens are everywhere.

In a recent trip to Point Lookout, New England National Park, NSW Judy and I encountered a lichen hunter’s paradise on the circuit track at the Point. Large groups of shrub-like lichens new to us encrusted rocks in some areas. In a previous Blog I discussed Lichen morphology, distribution and classification. Since that Blog I have added more photos to my catalogue of lichens. This photo blog includes some of our newest finds, which can be identified under their major groupings as follows –

Crustose – Growing tightly on the substrate such that removal would damage the substrate (edges not lifted from the substrate). Some members of this group are embedded in the substrate and appear as a stain.

Foliose – leaf-like often lobed and loosely attached to the substrate. The edges are clearly separated from the substrate.

Fruticose – Branched and usually round in crossection and shrubby in form.

Squamulose – Scale-like small overlapping lobes.

Arrangement

I haven’t labelled the photos below.  See how many you can assign to groups using the descriptions above. Bear in mind some photos may have multiple groups. The three localities we visited as part of a trip to the Waterfall Way, New South Wales in 2016. The galleries are arranged by location and include:

Wollomombi Falls

The falls are part of the Waterfall Way drive east of Armidale NSW. The lichens encrust the guard rail lining the walking track down to the falls viewing platform and the gallery includes a shot of Judy inspecting this encrusted guard rail.

Two Styx

We stayed several nights at the well appointed Two Styx cabins a few kilometres below Point Lookout in the New England National Park. To the left of our cabin were some Acacias liberally coated with mosses and lichens (main photo with intro). The filamentous moss turned the branches into hairy arms.

Point Lookout, New England NP

The lookout at 1,500 metres is reached by a short, sealed circuit track with an easy grade and is a lichen spotter’s delight. Vegetation is surprisingly at this height Banksias and not surprisingly Ghost Gums. We were in lichen heaven. At the start  of the walk the wooden fence railings were coated with lichens and we had the pleasure seeing a Lyre Bird on the track. The Banksia trunks were coated with mosses, lichens and epiphytic ferns of the genus Pyrr0sia. The gallery has shots of the track and vegetation as well as the lichens. The wonderful view of mountains from Point lookout preceeds the lichen shots.

Wonderful vista from Point Lookout

Wonderful vista from Point Lookout

Enjoy the beauty of the Lichens and the identification exercise. Include Lichen spotting in your walks – you will enjoy this simple pleasure.

Accommodation

We stayed at Two Styx cabins which are excellent, well presented and great value for money.  This location provided easy access to Point Lookout, New England National Park, Ebor Falls and Cathedral Rock National Park. The cabins are nicely isolated and the veranda has an uninterrupted view of Ghost Gums – a great vista for the end of the day with a glass of wine in hand.

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