20161201 Winter Mosses and Lichens

We had some cold fall rains lately and took some photographs along Hwy 529, the “Old Highway” connecting Byng Inlet and Pointe au Baril.

First, the oft-photographed Twin Rivers Bridge at the confluence of the Naiscoot and Harris Rivers:


Then some mosses and lichens in dry weather.

Andy Fyon has a good illustrated list of mosses and lichens that grow in this part of Ontario.




And here is a larger variety of mosses and lichens taken after a rainfall, (which usually enhances the colour and contrast of the plants).  Click on the images to see the fine structure of these organisms.


The tan coloured bits seem to be fruiting structures of some kind:


I wonder if the “design” of the spore capsule is informed by the location of the water droplet?


Very hydrophobic leaves on this unknown plant.  It’s leaves are about 4 mm wide.


This looks like an immature form of Rock Tripe.


A lone(ly) British Soldier displaying his red uniform:


This illustrates the complexity of the organisms growing, somehow, on a rock outcrop:


I suspect that the leaf and conifer needles will eventually be recycled by these plants:


It seems that the tips of these British Soldiers Cladonia cristatella are undergoing some sort of fruiting, perhaps to become crimson red later in the process.


More dense life-forms …

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Wikipedia has extensive descriptions of our mosses and our lichens.

Less technical but very interesting articles:

With insight into how mosses and lichens live, how they contribute to ecosystems, and the great diversity, the importance of preservation is more easily understood. In contrast to vascular plants, mosses and lichen can be studied all year round. Viewed through a loupe, the miniature world of mosses and lichens will  impress with its colours, shapes, and tiny inhabitants.
The above is a  quote from a wonderful little primer on mosses and lichens prepared for Grade 5 students in Sweden.  Recommended reading for parents, teachers and grandparents.  Kids too.
Readers might find this little gem interesting.  Click on MOSSES AND LICHENS in the left hand list of topics.  That gem is full of  information about indigenous culture in Canada’s high arctic.
The Canadian Museum of History has a very nice website describing the culture of the Gwich’in peoples.