Spring seems to have truly arrived in Auckland; the freesias are out and my plum trees are beginning to blossom. It was really tempting to capture those things – and in fact I have. But since I’ve used the pictures in other posts, I’ve decided instead to focus on some other natural phenomena I’ve been photographing – lichen
I have a pittosporum outside my window that – as a tree – is reasonably pathetic. As a host for some amazing lichen though, it seems to be 4-star.
Until I took these photos, I hadn’t really given much thought to lichen. I didn’t know what it was, beyond the fact that it grows on trees (and concrete, wood and headstones) and in a multi-choice pub quiz environment, I’d probably say “vegetable” rather than “animal” or “mineral.”
There are lots of different lichens, and actually, it’s made up of two different organisms living in symbiosis; a fungus and it’s photosynthetic partner – usually a algae or a cynobacterium.
Lichens are edible, although some contain chemical compounds that are toxic and need to be removed before eating. They are also used in medicines and in dyes. In my home country, Scotland, there is a long tradition of lichen gathering and processing for the production of fabric dyes.
Moving right along … I’m not great at the botanical bit. All of the photos were taken on my iPhone and edited with Photo Editor by Aviary. I did a bit of fiddling with the colour, but the main difference between the pictures above and this one below is simply time of day.
And here are a few more you might like on the theme of Nature: