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Tree Lungwort is a beautiful, vibrantly green, leafy lichen. It is one of the largest lichens and is an indicator of ancient woodland.
Tree lungwort is found mainly in Scotland, particularly the west coast, where the wetter climate provides the moisture it requires to thrive. Because of air pollution, it is much sparser in the rest of Britain, confined to a few sites in wilder areas, such as the Lake District and parts of Wales.
It can be found growing on trees and old wood in areas of low air pollution.
Tree Lungwort can be spotted all throughout the year.
Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp pseudonarcissus
Despite its name, reindeer moss is actually a lichen (in fact it is also known as ‘reindeer lichen’).
Composed of many light and dainty branches, it grows in cushion-like tufts. When dry it can be quite brittle but once wet it becomes somewhat sponge-like.
Reindeer moss is usually found on moors and heathland, often growing in pockets of soil attached to rocky outcrops.
Reindeer Moss can be spotted all throughout the year.
The only naturalised reindeer in the UK are found in the Scottish Highlands where they live for much of the year on reindeer moss.
Groundsel is a common annual weed of rough and cultivated ground. You can find its clusters of small yellow flowers appearing on road verges, in gardens and on waste ground all throughout the year.
The leaves of Groundsel are bright shiny green, long and raggedly lobed. The small yellow flower heads are in cluster at the ends of the stems appearing to emerge from little tubes.
You can find Groundsel in flower throughout the year.
Groundsel is an annual weed of cultivated or disturbed ground, cropping up along field edges, roadside verges and on waste grounds.
Groundsel continues to be widespread throughout the British Isles, although there appears to have been a decline in the Scottish Highlands, possibly due to abandoning of marginal cultivations.
The seedpods of this common wildflower resemble little drawstring pouches worn by medieval peasants, spilling out tiny copper-coloured seeds when broken apart
A member of the Cabbage family, this annual plant produces flowers throughout the year, and is able to yield hundreds of seeds.
With a leafy rosette at the base, it grows to about 40cm. The leaves are larger and pinnately lobed at the bottom, and then arrow-shaped with wavy edges along the stem. It has tiny white scentless flowers arranged in a loose raceme, which are replaced by its highly recognisable seedpods.
It is widespread throughout Britain, particularly in waste grounds and cultivated fields.
It prefers well-lit conditions, so is often present in the canopy and on lower branches in well-lit situations.
Could be confused with Ramalina farinacea (below) which has narrower, more straggly branches, and lacks the pale underside. E. prunastri also lacks the oval soralia on the edges of the lobes, which is a distinctive feature of R. farinacea.
Other lichens with strap-like branches that are likely to be encountered in the rainforest, such as Ramalina calicaris, R. fastigiata, and R. fraxinea, commonly have rounded apothecia on their branches which are extremely rare in E. prunastri.
Widespread and common across the whole British Isles
A very common fruticose lichen on trees, which is easy for beginners to recognise.
As its evocative English name suggests, this lichen is relatively easy to spot once you have seen its ‘trumpets’. These are the apothecia (fruiting bodies) that stand out at the tips of many of the branches. They vary in size, but collectively make a visual impact.
Widespread and common across the British Isles with concentrations in southern England and coastal areas.
One of the most common fruticose species on trees with acidic bark such as alder, birch and oak. It is fairly pollution tolerant.
Could be confused with Evernia prunastri but that lacks the oval soralia on the edges of the branches and has distinctly paler undersides to the branches. When first becoming familiar with lichens you may also confuse R. fastigiata for an Usnea species as first glance, but if you look carefully you will notice that R. farinacea has flattened branches rather than cylindrical branches.
Similar to other Ramalina species such as R. calicaris, R. fastigiata, and R. fraxinea, but they have rounded apothecia (fruiting bodies) and they lack the oval soralia.
Widespread and common across the whole British Isles.
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