Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Moss and Lichen Watching at Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

Recently I met a couple of friends at Quarry Park and Nature Reserve in Waite Park, near St Cloud, MN for some leisurely hiking.  It's a beautiful place for the casual observer, with big piles of quarried granite next to water-filled quarry pits, set amongst oak woods.  But it also offers a lot to one who is willing to stop and look more closely.

Trumpet Lichen or Pixie Cup- Cladonia sp

The Trumpet Lichen and Pixie Cup are two species of lichens that are very similar to one another.  The cup-shaped structures aid dispersal; when rain drops hit the cup, the water splashes out, carrying asexually reproducing fragments of the lichen, or spores.  

Unknown moss species


I'm not too familiar with this group of plants or what they are about.  They are their own group (I think taxonomically at the division level).  Perhaps a topic for future posts.

Assorted mosses and lichens

For your viewing pleasure.
A dream of mine is to someday learn how to decorate fancy cakes, like frosting flowers and stuff.  And than I'd turn my skills over to the production of giant cakes decorated to look like the assemblages pictured above, with the mosses and lichens made out of frosting.  This dream may someday become a reality since my mom is an expert at cake decorating . . .

 Sunbright - Phemeranthus parviflorus

This is a new plant for me.  A number of them were growing amongst a pile of quarried granite in a sunny location.  It stood out to me because of its resemblance to succulents, which is an unusual look for a Minnesota plant.  It's a member of the Purslane family, Portulacaceae.  It's not a moss, or a lichen, but sometimes the Portulacaceae goes by the name Moss Rose family, so it still kind of fits the overall theme.

Crustose Lichens

Crustose is a generic term for any lichen that grows with its lower surface completely attached to the surface that it grows on.