You can’t wander far in the Bodie Hills without noticing some of the colorful lichens growing on rocks throughout the area. Look closer, and you will see a wide variety of shapes and colors, including some that are inconspicuous at first glance. Nearly all of the lichens in the Bodie Hills are saxicolous (they grow on rocks). Many, like Acarospora, are crustose (tightly attached to the substrate, often broken into cobble-stone like “areoles”); some, like Rhizoplaca, are squamulose (composed of small, overlapping, scale-like lobes); a few, like Umbilicaria, are umbilicate (attached to their substrate only at a central point).
These are some of the lichens found in the Chemung Mine area on the north side of Masonic Mountain—a place where both the flowering and non-flowering floras seem particularly diverse and colorful.
Gold cobblestone lichen, Pleopsidium flavum.
A brown cobblestone lichen, Acarospora (probably) rosulata.
Desert firedot lichen, Caloplaca trachyphylla.
Green rock-posy, Rhizoplaca melanophthalma, is one of the most abundant
and widespread lichens in the Bodie Hills.
Two kinds of “rock-posy”: Rhizoplaca melanophthalma (left)
and Rhizoplaca peltata (right).
A rock tripe,(I think).
Lichen identification gets fairly technical, involving color tests using various chemicals, and microscopic examination of the spores. But a couple of lavishly illustrated books are now available to help the non-specialist identify many lichens from photographs, macroscopic features, and descriptions:
© Tim Messick 2015. All rights reserved.