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Devil’s matchstick

(Cladonia floerkeana)

Devil's matchstick. © Laurie Campbell

Devil's matchstick. © Laurie Campbell

Also known as 'British soldier'.

A quirky lichen with red-capped branches (known as 'podetia'), this lichen usually grows between one and three centimetres in height.

Like all lichens, the Devil's matchstick is actually two organisms working together: a fungus and an algae in a symbiotic relationship.

Where to see it

Cladonia floerkeana has a fondness for dead wood so rotting logs and fence posts are a good place to start. It also grows on well drained soil with a high organic matter content such as that found on heath and moorland.

Distribution

This lichen is scattered throughout the UK, although more commonly found in the north and the west.

Did you know?

Lichens are very sensitive to air pollution: the more lichens you find in a place the cleaner the air!

Find out more about lichens with our Wild and Wonderful leaflet.