October 22, 2008
While out walking on my holiday in Scotland one summer, I came across these intriguing lichen patterns. The area where I was walking was quite remote and little disturbed by humans. Over the years, these lichens have had time to all grow together, giving a rather pleasing quilted or pavement effect. The patches vary in size but the largest is about the diameter of a pool ball.
Lichens are one of a class of cellular, flowerless plants (technically called Lichenes) having no distinction of leaf and stem. They often have scaly frond-like forms but are sometimes erect or pendulous and variously branched. Lichens derive their nourishment from the air and generate by means of spores. They’re very widely distributed and form irregular spots or patches, usually of a greenish or yellowish color, upon rocks, trees, etc. to which they adhere with great tenacity. Lichens are also a good indicator of air purity. The cleaner the air the greater the variety of lichens is to be found. This part of Scotland, near Ardnamurchan, is home to a truly spectacular variety and abundance of lichens.