Earlier this year I posted photographs of lichen I discovered while exploring the pine/oak forests around Whitesbog Village and learned that several of you have interest in them too. Here is an example of a lichen pointed out during my field trip with the wonderful folks from Pineland Preservation Alliance , a British Soldier Lichen (Cladonia cristatella). This attractive lichen is apparently pretty common in the pine barrens, though I must admit that before this field trip I had never once noticed it. Perhaps the fact that this lichen only grows about 1 centimeter (about 1/2 inch) tall has something to do with my overlooking it, but you would think the bright red spore caps would have given it away. This actually turned out to be a challenging subject to photograph. I tried several shots hand-holding my camera, but was disappointed by the results. I finally obtained reasonably focused results by spreading my tripod low to the ground like a giant spider and used a remote shutter release to minimize vibration to the camera.
Once home and reviewing my photos, I noticed an even smaller plant (maybe a lichen?) was growing among the British Soldier Lichen. I’m still searching though my plant guide books in hopes of identifying this interesting little fellow. Any thoughts?