I’m quite partial to a spot of lichen or moss. Especially in January.
It’s partly because there aren’t many flowers to distract me. And partly because if I’m walking through woodland, most of the colours are rich browns, with the leaf-litter and tree-trunks, and then all of a sudden, you spot a twig in the mud with great splats of turquoise lichen. Brown and turquoise, as every style guru will tell you, is a fabulous combination.
And then you notice that the tree trunk ahead of you has clothed its sizeable feet in fabulous emerald spangled stockings. Bold move.
Lichen is a very strange creature. It is a rather wonderful Frankenstein combo of fungi and algae or cyanobacteria. Groovy. Beatrix Potter was a leading knowledge in lichen. Lichens have rather wonderful names, like ‘antler lichen’ and ‘pepperpot lichen’ and ‘tree lungwort’. They can look like coral, alien life-forms, or a very bad wig.
Their silvery, ghostly colours add to the other-worldly effect.
Crusty old lichen is often accompanied by soft, velvety moss. My favourite mosses are like a wonderful green furry pelt. Moss is the greenest of green things in the wood.
You have to admire the tenacity and sheer bloody-mindedness of lichens. And they manage to stick it out with style.
Here are a few of the lichens and mosses I spotted in the woods today. I do hope you like little jade paint-splats too.