Moss or What??

Box_Turtle(5)

Hi everyone! I know almost nothing about botany and didn't even know how to begin searching for this on-line. This was photographed 2 days ago growing on some rocks in Game Land 38 by Wolf Swamp near Reeders, Pennsylvania. Is it moss or lichen or what? Just curious! Thanks!

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lycopus(z5 NY)

Fruticose lichen. Perhaps a species of Cladonia.

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Box_Turtle(5)

Thanks!! It's really a very interesting little plant!

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

.....and algae....and blue-green algae, all rolled into one! We tend to think of these symbiotic relationships as somehow rare or unusual. I was watching a professor explain last night that we too are "lichens", in that we've totally co-evolved with the organisms on and in us that do many jobs for us. When you look closer, you can't really say we're single organisms either!

Okay, back to plants.

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Box_Turtle(5)

Hey, wisconsitom, "you can't really say we're single organisms either!" WOW! That's fascinating and sort of a beautiful concept tool. I wish I could pick your brain for a few hours.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

My brain, such as it is, is open to being picked most any time, via these here interwebs! Glad you enjoyed.

No, I'm not physically sitting here at this desk 24/7. But I do come around at regular intervals to see what's happening in this and several other gardenweb forums.

That lecture was beyond fascinating! Turns out that cells of "helper" organisms-we're talking bacteria here-far, far outnumber our own, within "our" bodies. And our bodies long ago learned that it is much more effective and efficient to farm out many tasks to these ride-along organisms. From an energy budget standpoint, "we" get much more bang for the buck, so to speak, than if our own systems had to come up with all these functions completely on their own, things like digestion, etc.

Where it gets real interesting is that there is essentially no discreet evolution of Homo sapiens without the co-evolution of these other organisms. We've evolved together, never having been separate from each other.

+oM

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