Wednesday, March 28, 2007


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Despite its lively color, this butterfly you see on the tree trunk is dead. I found its lifeless body at the floor of my porch and I decided to photograph this beautiful insect to the side of the lichens.

"Lichens are a successful alliance between a fungus and an alga. Each doing what it does best, and thriving as a result of a natural cooperation. They live as one organism, both inhabiting the same body. "

"Many lichens are very sensitive to pollution in the air. When there are too many harmful things in the air, lichens die. If you live where there are many lichens it probably means the air is clean. But, if there are only a few lichens in your neighborhood, the air you are breathing is probably clogged with automobile fumes or industrial wastes."

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Lichens are capable of inhabiting several ecosystems, due to their versatility, despite of the environmental conditions. They can live on rocks, ground, rind of trees, trunks and wood. Lichens are very good bio-indicators to survey the air pollution.

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I think this organism above is Fungi, not Lichen. Fungi help to recycle fallen timber and organic debris. Is it Rainbow Fungi or Coral Fungi? Perhaps someone can help me with this doubt!

"Humans have learned to use lichens in many useful ways. People eat lichens (careful a few are poisonous, so don't experiment without expert help). Drug companies make antibiotics from lichen substances. One of the most creative things people do with lichens is make dyes to color wool. "

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All photos were taken by me in my garden

Update 1: Dyeing with Lichens & Mushrooms: Human beings have been used lichens for over 4,000 years in dyeing. The Romans produced a purple dye from lichens for their togas. In Scotland the traditional kilts were dyed from lichen extracts while native American Indians use lichen dyes for colour in their rugs. You can see this issue here , here and here .

Update 2: My friend Gisela, from Guildwood Village on The Lake kindly solve my doubt about Lichen and Fungi. As you can see here, "my" Fungi is Coral Fungi. If you want to see another beautiful photos of Fungi, Lichen and Mushroom, click on those Gisela's post: here, here, here, here, here and here. Thank you so much Gisela!


  1. This is fascinating Sonia...And they all look so pretty to me! Especially that greenish one...!
    What a beautiful butterfly...and so sad that it is dead!
    These are wonderful pictures...! You have an abundance of "lichens" in your garden!

  2. Interesting information, Sonia. We have lichens here, but not as many as you do. The butterfly is beautiful, even in death.

  3. Nice pictures Sonia, and you have reactivated the SAP button (English/Portuguese)! Brazil is known for its beautiful butterflies, you have a good sample there... Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sonia,
    adorei esse post. Uma verdadeira aula!
    Fotos bacanas, informação, idem.

  5. Sonia, aprendi aqui: eu nao sabia que o nome desses fungos era líquen. eles sao tao bonitos, alguns parecem umas saias de babados! :-) beijao,

  6. I didn't know you could use lichens to dye things. Those orange ones would make a pretty color. I'll suggest that to a friend who makes her own paper.

  7. Thanks to you, Sonia, I learned something today and I'll be looking for lichens on my walks around the house and college campus. I hope I find many! And if I do, I'll share them with you.

  8. Val, I updated this post with the use of lichens to dye things. And also with my doubt about lichen and fungi. Thanks for your useful comment.

  9. Sonia, parabéns pela original, didática, técnica, ciêntifica e muito bem ilustrada postagem! Precisa mais? Bjs

  10. Hi Sonia...
    Thanks for coming by again...
    I wonder what else these are good for....So very interesting, my dear...!
    The comments thingy wasn't working on the new post of mine, but it is now---I have no idea why!!! BLOGGER.....Grrrrrrr!

  11. Hi Sonia,
    you have asked Coral Fungi or Rainbow fungi. I think, it is a Coral fungi. Please take a look at my site.
    I am posting some pictures from my data base.
    If you want to see our lichens, fungi and mushrooms to compare with your pls. go to October 2006 entries.
    Love the blue butterfly.
    cheers Gisela

  12. Quite interesting pictures. From the quality of the lichens in your garden, the level of pollution must be very low... Lucky you! ;))

  13. Quite interesting pictures. From the quality of the lichens in your garden, the level of pollution must be very low... Lucky you! ;))

  14. Hello Sonia

    I found my way to you via Gisela at Guildwood Village
    I also like looking out for Fungi & Lichen in my garden and when I'm out visiting rainforest areas here in Australia. I just posted some pictures of my recent finds, you can see them on 14th March.


  15. Oh Thanks S. Such a comprehensive post and packed full of interesting info. Love your garden.

  16. Oh, how interesting Sonia!! I love this fascinating stuff. There are so many kinds of fungi and lichens!
    I didn't know they used them for dye, but it makes sense! Thanks for the informative post!!

  17. Hi Sonia
    Very Interesting pictures and story on lichens and fungi in your garden.

  18. What a wonderful post - so much good information - thank you!!

  19. Hi Sonia,
    More beautiful pictures, we have lichens in the forest and many fungi.
    I think your orange fungi may be Turkeytails (Trametes versicolor) They are a common bracket fungus and occur in a wide range of colours. here in the New Forest they tend to be a darker brownIf you look at them they resemble the tails of turkeys.

  20. I just pop in to say hello and see this awful fungis ! You have to admit they are really ugly. We have them too on some trees. Here today it's wonderful weather, spring is coming ! Am I happy that the winter is over !

  21. beautiful pics! and interesting words, Sonia. Those are amazing creatures, right? we have to learn a lot of things about little things around us :)
    Thank you for the link!

  22. Thank you for directing me to your beautiful butterfly and this very informative post. I enjoyed reading it!


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