Satellite dishes; fairy proportions
Growing in bunches just like mistletoe.
Spreading on branches; shapes ever changing
Fruticose beings of many a hue.
Mutualistic or parasitic;
Not plant; not fungus; a freak of the world
An ancient species long lived and thriving?
Better than humans pollution they’ll find.
Found in abundance, throughout all the world
On branch; on stone; on building or playground
Alien species? Where did they come from?
Keeping their watch from wherever they sit.
Brooding; plotting to take over our world?
Look out behind then; they’re growing near you.
Poem and photo by Englepip© copyright
Lichen are some of the strangest growing things in the world. The oldest in the Arctic is said to be about 8600 years old, the world’s oldest organism, and they probably grow only 1mm a year, depending where they are. They come in many different shapes and forms and even change their shapes and colours as they grow. The more I read about them, the more ubiquitous I realised they were and I began to imagine them lurking and waiting to take their turn in taking over the world! Terrifying.
The following words about lichens are from Wikipedia. “Many lichens are very sensitive to environmental disturbances and can be used to cheaply assess air pollution, ozone depletion, and metal contamination. Lichens have been used in making dyes, perfumes, and in traditional medicines. A few lichen species are eaten by insects or larger animals, such as reindeer. Lichens are widely used as environmental indicators or bio-indicators. If air is very badly polluted with sulphur dioxide there may be no lichens present, just green algae may be found. If the air is clean, shrubby, hairy and leafy lichens become abundant. A few lichen species can tolerate quite high levels of pollution and are commonly found on pavements, walls and tree bark in urban areas. The most sensitive lichens are shrubby and leafy while the most tolerant lichens are all crusty in appearance. Since industrialisation many of the shrubby and leafy lichens such as Ramalina, Usnea and Lobaria species have very limited ranges, often being confined to the parts with the purest air.”
Such an interesting organism.