En route today to Archbald Pothole State Park to look for ‘shrooms and friends in the forest undergrowth I was delayed by several treasures in St. Francesco Cemetery in Eynon, Pennsylvania. While there I spotted a genuine wonder (figure 1) which was very much in the spirit of my larger quest.

Figure 1. Lichens and fungi on old tree stump. St. Francesco Cemetery, Eynon, PA. Photo: author.

It was clear from the red dots that I had something interesting, and when I blew the image up about five times (figure 2), yes, I discovered a world in a tree stump. I am no lichenologist (mycologist? who has authority over lichens?), but I see several different forms of lichen here. The showpiece is the red cladonia cristatella fruiting bodies. The bushy one is ‘fruticose’, the leafy one ‘foliose’, and the little cups (many kind of squashed here) are called apothecia. If you haven’t expended your best years studying Greek and Latin, those words mean ‘bushy’, ‘leafy’, and ‘storehouses’, respectively. Oh, and the crusty lichens are ‘crustose’.

Figure 2. Lichens and fungi on old tree stump. Detail: area rich with Cladonia cristatella. St. Francesco Cemetery, Eynon, PA. Photo: author.

Some will know this, but even those who don’t will be unsurprised to discover that cladonia cristatella goes by the alternate name ‘British soldiers’, because of course it does.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: