If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

21 October, 2010

Lichen (Xanthoria parietina)

As the leaves disappear from the trees and the hedgerows so other life forms become more apparent, especially lichens.

Lichens may not look much, just some dried up crusty old vegetation, but they are actually fascinating. A lichen is actually two living organisms, an algae and a fungus, which live together for mutual benefit, symbiosis (I'm turning into Chris Packham!)

To survive they need a host which may be vegetable or mineral from which it can derive support, minerals and moisture. Lichens do no harm to their hosts, they are not parasitic.

Identifying lichens is a real headache. This one though is very easy as it is really the only yellow coloured one and it is extremely common, mainly because it seems to be resistant to air pollution.

You can find Xanthoria on trees, rocks and walls, especially on bird perching sites such as fence posts and milestones. Unfortunately they do not have English names.