Aliens… lichen

Is it just me or do lichens look like something dropped, or dripped, down from outer space?

They look like plants, but aren’t plants. A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria, or both, living among filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship. Some have tiny leafless branches or flat leaf-like structures, others look like flaking paint. Just to confuse things, they often grow through moss but lichens are not related to any moss or plant. They grow on almost any surface, most often on bark, leaves, mosses or other lichens, even hanging from branches. Some lichens grow on bare rock, gravestones, roofs, exposed soil surfaces and walls, but they are not parasites.

It is estimated that 6% of the world’s surface is covered by lichen. And I thought there was a lot in the valley. It is beautiful.

Oh, and just in case you didn’t know how to pronounce it… we English say lichen rhyming with ‘kitchen’. The American pronunciation is ‘liken’.

5 to remember
caído – dropped
goteado – dripped
el espacio sidereal – the outer space
el liquen – the lichen
el musgo – the moss

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