British Soldier Lichens

British Soldier Lichen

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?

8 thoughts on “British Soldier Lichens”

  1. I’m not sure I have ever seen bright red lichen (it’s probably been out there, but I didn’t notice)…you did a great job w/ the close up – they almost look like tiny red bugs all over the plant!

  2. I think I’ve seen those British Soldiers before but never knew what to call them. I love the name! I’ve no idea what your interloper is – maybe you’ve discovered some heretofore unfound species?

  3. The closeups turned out marvelous and the lichen looks like little decorated trees. So fun and interesting to learn about these organisms and about your area of the U.S. Keep it up!!

  4. What an interesting series of photos. I like to know about things as I take the pictures. When I get back home I do research to find out more. Wish I could help you with your puzzle.

  5. These are so fine. I have no idea what the other is.
    The British Soldiers grow on the roof of my shed, much easier to photograph, hope it’s not rude to leave a link.

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