Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Xanthoria aureola

A splash of colour by the side of the Cleveland Way in the winter sunshine. Easily overlooked but deserving a closer inspection. Lichens fascinate me but I admit I am lost when it comes to naming and hesitate to put a name to this. Xanthoria aureola is a likely candidate, there are other contenders, same genus, but I settle for aureola because the book says it is often found on calcareous substrates such as cement and mortar. This is on a precast concrete fence post. The name comes from the Greek ‘xanthos‘ meaning blond. Lichens comprise two organisms in a symbiotic relationship. A fungus provides the structure while its algal partner provides nutrients by converting sunlight into sugars. Look closely, there is at least one other lichen species in the photo plus a moss. But I am happy I have identified one lichen. The orange fruiting discs of aureola are clearly seen, these produce the spores. Also you might notice, on the left, completely disguised by the various lichen, is an old steel nut and bolt.

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