Monday, February 27, 2012

Mostly Lichens and Fungi

The area around the Keddie Cascades has lots of different lichens and fungi at this time of year, and just a few signs of the flowering plants about to emerge.  The Bird's Nest Fungi (top photo) are difficult to spot, averaging about 1/4 inch in diameter, and often covered by pine needles or fallen leaves.  But, they are worth getting the knees of your pants muddy for a closer look.  Then there's a great variety of lichens growing on tree branches and trunks, and rocks.  Some of the patches on rocks can be hundreds of years old.  On the rocky faces along the trail as well as on the roadside either side of the trail entrance there's lots of Sedum (fifth photo from top) that will soon send up stalks with bright yellow flowers.  Last, is Pipisessewa or Prince's Pine.  This member of the heath family, Ericaceae, must stimulate human creativity because it has been given many different names.
Pipisessewa is probably of Native American origin.  All the other names have their reasons, and it can be quite an interesting back door into history to research the origins of plant names.

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