Old Man’s Beard Lichen – 4/16/20

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/16/20

Observation Time: 1:45 p.m.

Observation Location: conservation land at Lakeview & Morse

Common Name: Old Man’s Beard lichen

Scientific Name: Usnea strigosa

Comments: Also called bushy beard, this epiphytic (i.e. growing on trees) lichen is a composite organism that emerges from algae or cyanobacteria living among the filaments of the fungi in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship. The fungi benefit from the carbohydrates produced by the algae or cyanobacteria via photosynthesis. The algae or cyanobacteria benefit by being protected from the environment by the filaments of the fungi, which also gather moisture and nutrients from the environment, and (usually) provide an anchor to it.

More Information: Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources

My friend Tom Palmer of Milton helped me identify this lichen, and provided this photo of some he found on the ground at Moose Hill Farm in Sharon on 5/4/18.