I’m not counting any raindrops yet, but the newspaper and meteorologist seem pretty confident we have a big storm arriving tonight and staying through the weekend. I’m keeping a day clear on my calendar so I can visit my mossy Bay Area haunts. Included here are photos I took after the rains in December 2014.
The cuppy things are Pixie Cup Lichen. I’d never even seen this lichen before I started this project to photograph moss. One sees things that were unseen before one really starts to look intently! It a major axiom or life lesson. We determine what we see by how we look and what we look for!
Getting back to the Pixie Cups. This British Wildflower site by Roger Darlington describes them thus: “Shaped like Shreks’ Ears or miniature golf-tees (podetia), albeit somewhat battered and sand-blasted ones. The sprinkling of light-grey-green pixie dust (squamules) between them is part of the lichen.”
I’ve been hiking around all my life and never seen a pixie cup before this year! Let’s say it’s a perk of my moss project.
While moss and lichen favor a lot of the same moist places, lichen is structurally very different. D-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t is not understating it. Lichen may be the only symbiotic organism….Like moss and liverwort it’s a non-vascular plant, meaning it doesn’t have a system of cells that carry water, which it why it remains small and close to the ground. It gets water and minerals from its surface.
The amazing, weird and different thing about lichen is that it’s made of algae on the inside and fungus on the outside. The algae have chorolphyll which help it make food for the fungus…I’ve oversimplified what is known about the alga/fungus relationship of fungus. If you want to know more about this unique relationship—consult another source:)
Enjoy the storm!
Moss and Lichen is a collection of Moss images by photographer Karen Nierlich including the streets of Berkeley, Albany, Tilden, Muir Woods and the Dipsea Trail. Available from Lulu.com for $19.99. Click on book cover to access reviews and purchase!
I’m feeling the loss of rain here in the Bay Area like many people. January is supposed to be the rainiest month of the year and we have had no rain! With the exception of a couple of cold days of strong wind, we’ve had warm, bright days. I miss our normal weather pattern with cold, wet days perfect for reading and making winter soups in the evenings and weekends. Those are my personal loses, but moreover, I worry for the plants and animals who are searching high and low for water and food to sustain them.
In early December we had a week of stormy days. We were all a buzz exclaiming over it. My friends and I learned a new word, “Pluviophilia” which means love of rain. I knew I liked the rain, but now in it’s absence I know I love it. I don’t want a year of sunny days with no rain. I want some of each in approximately equal parts!
Moss and Lichen is a collection of Moss images by photographer Karen Nierlich from around the Bay Area including the streets of Berkeley, Albany, Tilden, Muir Woods and the Dipsea Trail. Available from Lulu.com for $19.99. Click on book cover to access reviews and purchase!
These moss photos might appeal to those who love abstract art like artists Richard Diebenkorn, Mark Rothko and especially Robert Ryman. In me they evoke tender feelings of peace and harmony because of the combination of earthy & messy botanical stuff with the relative straight edges and hardness of the bricks! I also get a kick out of the little dandelion that makes it look like a tiny lawn with a tree.
This spot on Portland Avenue in Berkeley (near my brother’s house) had lots of different bricks as you can see the moss finds a toehold on the older pockmarked bricks not the newer bricks. I Imagine it had to do with the hardness and texture of the bricks.
Got busy with my camera this week the minute the rain cleared because I checked some reports on California weather and learned we have just 2.5 months of winter left. This chartreuse moss photo is actually lichen. It covers a whole fence somewhere along the Arlington. Been by there several times trying to find a way to make this backdrop into an interesting photo. I may be using this image as the book cover. Love it so! But then it’s lichen…so a complication.
My walk took me up Portland Avenue to Colusa and then further up Vicente Ave to one of the “secret” stair paths up there. There are some gardeners there on Vicente who are crazy about succulents. Hats off to you all! I’ve included some of your gems.
Moss and Lichen book by Karen Nierlich.