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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!

11 January, 2012

Devil's Matchsticks Lichen (Cladonia floerkeana)

Despite being sensitive to air polution lichens are one of our most diverse and widespread life forms and whilst declining in eastern areas they still strive in the west and here in Dorset there are many of them.

Lichens are specialists. Some species use rocks, walls, roof tiles and gravestones as their substrate, others prefer wood and colonise tree trunks and branches, fence posts and wooden buildings. There is also a family of lichen, the Cladonia species where some members colonise bare ground and this one, Cladonia floerkeana is one of those.

Supposedly common on peaty soils on moors and heaths I have only found it once on the Dorset heath but there is quite a lot of heath in Dorset to look at so I am sure I have often missed it.

This species has thin stems with bright red spore producing tips giving them the appearance of matches, hence the common name of Devil's Matchsticks!
Find out more about the nature of Dorset at my website www.natureofdorset.co.uk