Saturday, August 26, 2006

New lichen, Lecanora campestris

Standing idly in the rain yesterday, I noticed a sort of grey smear like some distant nebula on the sandstone rock in The Waste. There have been various stains of an indeterminate nature on this rock and others in Emthree, but today I could clearly see the small brown jam tart-like fruiting bodies that revealed Master Smudge's identity as a lichen.

Consulting with books led to the conclusion that it might be Lecanora campestris and this was confirmed by Simon Davey, the Sussex Lichen Recorder. L. campestris is an abundant species in the south and, among other habitats, it likes to grow on nutrient enriched silaceous rocks. In this case the repeated cracking of snails by our garden thrush must have produced a rich patina of snail juice and bird poo that has no doubt fostered the growth of this lichen. At this rate it will be no time at all before we have a layer of soil on the rock.

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