03 April 2016

Lichens

How you pronounce the word depends on where you're from. In the U.S., we say something like ['lye-ken]. In the U.K., I believe, it's often pronounced ['litch-en]. In France, it's [lee-'kehn].



So many trees here in the Loire Valley are covered in lichens. They're not parasitic so I don't think the trees mind much.

12 comments:

LaPré DelaForge said...

Ken, I was taught "likens"...and the science teachers I had weren't from the States....I think in the UK it is dependent upon your teacher's teacher's teacher!!
I love lichens...they are extremely photogenic...and, along with mosses, part of my standard set of subjects!!
Map Lichens are great fun...with all their little "countries"....
Cladonia types, with either their coloured matchsticks on some and "pixies-cups" on others, are also great macro subjects.

As a plant...actually a symbiot...they don't harm the plant unless the plant is young, or small and slow growing....
as well as their leaves.....plants breath through their stems and, in the case of some plants the lichen growth can "choke" them.
Some trees...birches and planes for example....shed bark to open new pores....others develope deep fissures.
But, here, we have a problem with the lichens that grow on our currant bushes...it really covers the branches quickly and the poor quantity of fruit on older wood is the result.

potty said...

We have 'lich-ens' growing on our black painted wire fence.

Taste of France said...

I don't see them much in the south. Different climate, I guess.
LaPre's comment is so informative! Thanks!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks, Tim. Very interesting. When we arrived here all those years ago and saw the lichens, we really didn't know if they were parasitic or not. We figured out we really didn't need to worry about them too much. Your explanation clarifies things.

The site I go to, dictionary.com, gives both pronunciations of lichen for British English, but only the [lye-ken] one for American. I know I've heard [litch-en] on British nature shows.

LaPré DelaForge said...

You may well have them...but they won't be as showy as this...
Map lichens and other crust-like species are the norm in hotter, dryer areas.

chm said...

Yes, thank you, Tim, for this explanation. When they grew on trees, I thougt they were parasitic. Now, I know better.

Nadia said...

My trees are all covered in them and are certainly none the worse for them, luckily.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Same with ours.

Sharon said...

We have quite a lot around us. Apparently it's a sign of good air quality.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Our air quality must be very good then.

Tim said...

Ken...apart from the cedar pollen [for you] and the birch pollen [for me] it is...it is!!

Ken Broadhurst said...

My sworn enemy is cypress pollen, not cedar. If it were cedar pollen, I know of three big trees in our yard that would have been cut down years ago. Are there a lot of birches down by you? Our house is called Les Bouleaux — The Birches. Birch trees are everywhere around here.