Lichens of the Catskill Mountains
April 29, 2004
This photo was taken in early April from West Fulton, New York and shows Cladonia cristatella (euphemistically known as British soldiers), a squamulose-fruticose lichen. West Fulton is a hamlet in the northwestern reaches of the Catskill Mountains in southeastern New York. Lichens are symbiotic organisms made up of both algae and fungi. Often located on a substrate of wood, soil, moss, tree bases, or as in this instance, rotting logs, lichens reduce rocks and plant matter into soil components. With its branched, red-tipped stalks, it can be mistaken for the Cladonia deformis, the "lesser sulphur-cup," because the red apothecia may sometimes form an impression of a cup. It also closely resembles the Cladonia floerkana, which has rough, granulated stalks.