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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 January, 2012

Lichen (Opegrapha atra)

Lichen (Opegrapha atra) by Peter Orchard
Lichen (Opegrapha atra), a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr.

Pale, smooth barked trees often have pale grey or greenish patches with little black specs in the middle of them. This is not a bark blemish but a living lichen.
Called Opegrapha atra it is the commonest of the family of six British species and possibly the easiest to identify becuase of these patches that enclose the central speeckled marks. Silver birch and members of the willow family are the favoured host trees for atra but it also, very occassionally, occurs on fence posts too.
Not much to look at perhaps but nice to know what it is when you see it all the same!
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Find out more about the nature of Dorset at my website www.natureofdorset.co.uk