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Cladonia uncialis: a reindeer lichen

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Cladonia uncialis: a reindeer lichen

I have been used to seeing lichen in amongst the heather out on the Dorset heaths and wrongly assumed they were all the reindeer lichen, Cladonia portentosa, but I was wrong! It is not rare for me to be wrong but I still try to learn a little each day. In addition to portenosa there is this one, Cladonia uncialis. 

Although closely related and quite similar in appearance if you take the trouble to look you will notice that Cladonia uncialis has thin, fibrous strands whereas portentosa has wider and and more 'flowery' strands. That is not a good description but I cannot think of more suitable words without calling on the rather complex scientific language that surrounds lichen.

Cladonia uncialis is common on the heaths and is quite often in damp areas or even in wetter bogs, portentosa prefers things a bit drier.


 

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This is just my nature note: for lots more information including distribution maps, status charts, identification guidance and more photographs go to the species home page by clicking/tapping the icon