Thursday, January 27, 2011

Usnea sp., Beard Lichen, fruiting on my desk. I'm glad to hear terraria? are back in style

Before leaving Florida earlier this month I walked around the garden, picked up the dead branches that had fallen out of the Live Oaks while we were there, and dumped them in the back of the truck.. They were covered with mosses, lichens, and bromeliads. The first day back at the Arboretum I discovered this plastic candy container on the lunchroom table. After looking at it for a couple days it occured to me that it would make a good terrarium. I broke off an appropriate lenngth of an interestingly populated branch, ran a bit of water into the terrarium, and popped the branch in. I know it won't last forever but after two weeks everything seems fine.

The Usnea sp. is cool, uneartly even. I first saw it in the Okefenokee swamp many years ago. This could be the same species. Apparently there are quite a few species some with ranges that extend well into Canada. The name Usnea is the source of the specific epithet for Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides. Parenthetically, the Spanish Moss that we festooned the Live Oaks in the National Grove of State Trees with is still alive three years later.

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