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Kentucky Color: Lichen Green on Kentucky Coffee Tree
Lichens and trees have symbiotic relationships, as Billy Joe Fudge explains in this column
The next earlier Kentucky Color: Billy Joe Fudge, Kentucky Color: The great holly berry heist January 8, 2010. Click on headline for full story plus photo(s)
By Billy Joe Fudge, President, Homeplace on Green River, Inc.
6048 New Columbia RD, Campbellsville, KY
Lichens are not moss although many have names which contain the word moss.
Lichens are not parasitic therefore they do not harm the trees. However, they are a fungi and fungi are not capable of making food so therefore most fungi are parasitic.
"If Lichens cannot make food and they don't live off the trees then how do they feed themselves?" you might ask. Good question and the answer is that Lichens are really a composite creature consisting of a fungus, and an algae or a type of bacteria. Sometimes Lichens can be one body composed of all three.
This is a true symbiotic relationship; the tree is the foundation upon which the home is built, the fungus is the home, and the algae and the bacteria bring home the bacon. I apologize to all the vegetarian readers and you have my permission to substitute beans in the place of bacon.
Lichens are easily seen during the winter months especially while the bark is wet. There are three kinds: Leafy, scaly, and shrubby, as seen in the accompanying photos.
Lichens reproduce by spores (notice the little circular fruiting bodies on the leafy) and also by just having pieces broken off and transplanted by wind, water, animals, etc. You most probably have never noticed Lichens before. Now may you never again walk by a tree trunk without admiring these most amazing plants. -Billy Joe Fudge
This story was posted on 2010-01-19 05:32:58
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