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Out on a walk it doesn’t take long before you notice hairy stringy turquoise greenish plants clinging to tree branches, scattered on the ground, clumps of them in the woods on the shrubs.  You’ll also see long stringy moss hanging from the tree trunks that will be covered with a variety of mosses.  These interesting shaped growths fascinate me and I can’t resist sketching them.   When they are fresh and living, they are soft to the touch; then, after they are detached from their base and can no longer receive the nutrients to survive they become stiff and dry.

Amazingly, lichen makes a beautiful light yellow dye for wool fleece.  First the lichen has to dry for several days then I place the dried lichen in a pot with my wool fleece, turn up the gas to boiling point and immediately turn down the gas to prevent the boiling from felting the fleece.   Let it cool in the pot before taking out the fleece to rinse and hang to dry.

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6 thoughts on “Lichens and mosses on Whidbey Island

  1. Paula, yes I have heard that lichen is sensitive to air pollutants. I checked out the website air-quality.org.uk: It states that lichens are in the fungal and alge family and very sensitive to large amounts of sulphur dioxide pollution. I think the reason we have an abundance of mosses, mushrooms, lichens and other plant growth is due to our distance from factories and the marine air breezes that clear the air? Although, I think the acidic rain caused by poor quality air does some damage to our area. We also have a variety of healthy frogs on the island. They are more sensitive to environmental changes than any other animal due to their wide range of exposure.

    Thanks for your interest and comments. Observing and sketching nature has certainly made me more aware of my surroundings and closer to nature; I love it.

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  2. I’ve learned that the more and the more different lichen you have, the better the quality of the air is. You have heard that too?
    You have painted an enjoyable inventory of the lichen in your area.

    Liked by 1 person

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