Aliens? No, just some Lichen

Aliens - No, Just a member of the Genus  Cladonia (Lichen)

Aliens – No, Just a member of the Genus Cladonia (Lichen)

I photographed this small clump of lichens on the sides of Falkland Hill last summer. I think this lichen is of the Genus Cladonia (also known as pixie cups, which is a far more magical name!!), but as to the species, that requires an expert. It’s one of the over 1500 different species found in Scotland!!

Lichens in Scotland are far more prolific and much better developed than else where in the UK, mainly due to the much cleaner air. They have in the past played an important role in the Scottish economy, they are used as dyes for the infamous Harris Tweed even to this day. And they are an important food source for the only remaining naturally occurring reindeer in the UK, found up in the Highlands of Scotland. The reindeer spend much of the year eating a lichen called reindeer moss.

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