May 23rd – Lichen identification and Campfire

On May 23rd in the evening the Berwick Young Naturalists spent an evening around a campfire looking at the lichens we collected the weekend before. Nine children and 6 adults attended. It was surprising to see the Lungwort (Lobaria pulminaria) wich was gray and hard when dry instantly turn vibrant green and rubbery when wet (see photos link). The amazing book we used for identification was “The Macrolichens of New England” by James W. Hinds and Patricia L. Hinds. I highly recommend this book as it’s dichotomous keys are very good. Other lichens we identified can be seen in the photos link.


Above: A variety of lichens were identified including many Cladonia species like British Soldiers (red tops) and other brown topped soldiers. We also looked at Old Man’s beard (Usnea species) and think we had Usnea filipendula, the fishbone beard lichen since the branches on the axis came out at 90 degrees. We think we also had Powder beard lichen since it looked like it had fuzzy disks all over the axis. We learned that there are 3 different types of lichen: Fruticose (shrubby), Crustose (crusty) and Foliose (leafy). Lungwort is an example of a Foliose lichen, old mans beard, British soldiers and resindeer lichen (Usnea species) are examples of Fruticose lichens, and the flat orange one you find at the sea shores on rocks is an example of a Crustose lichen.