Monday, April 02, 2012

Coastal BC Plants: Moss and Lichen are Friends

On the forest floor in Coastal BC you'll find a combination of moss and lichen co-existing. In this small patch there are at least two forms of lichen and three mosses. There may be more that my untrained eye can't see.


According to Andy's Northern Ontario Wildflower Page, a lichen is a symbiotic relationship between moss and fungi. The moss part conducts photosynthesis to feed both, and the fungus part provides support and keeps it from drying out.

What caught my eye in this cluster was the lichen that looked like a forest of trees in the middle of a green meadow. I searched pictures online and think it is Cladonia pityrea.

If you look closely, you will find some cup lichen that I think might be False Pixie Cup (Cladonia chlorophaea).


Andy goes on to describe moss as a plant that has no flowers or roots that grows in carpet-like masses on the ground, rocks or trees.

In the upper left corner is what I think is Low Sphagnum (Sphagnum compactum).

In the upper right corner I think is some Glossy Red Bryum Moss (Bryum miniatum), showing some of its wine red colour.

In the lower right corner is a feathery moss that I believe is another type of sphagnum moss, or maybe Lesser Tamarisk Moss (Thuidium recognitum).

Any moss and lichen experts out there? What do you think I have? -- Margy


  1. I remember when I was a child, I collected moss in the forest near our cottage north of Montreal, and made a little garden of it. I was entranced by all the little flowers and the greenery on them. Lovely shots!

  2. What a great post! I love the greens of mosses.
    Please remove your word verification. It is painful!

  3. Aren't they beautiful colours, I will have to look down more often xxx

  4. Stephanie - When I was little we went camping every summer, usually to the mountains and ofter up to BC. I am an only child, so I did a lot of things on my own. I loved creating "artistic" arrangements with sticks and moss for our campsites.

    Jenn - As I mentioned in my email, I get so much spam without it, I have trouble keeping it deleted.

    Fran - It is amazing how many different colours of green there are.


  5. Beautiful! I hadn't run across that tall lichen before. Now I'll be looking out for it.


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy