When is a moss not a moss?

The answer of course is when it’s a lichen.

Now I’m going to stick my neck out and say this is Cladonia portentosa1Wikipedia Contributors (2021). Cladonia portentosa. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladonia_portentosa [Accessed 13 Jan. 2022]..

Folks commonly refer to it as Reindeer Moss but that name strictly relates to Cladonia rangiferina which is uncommon and found high in the mountains of Scotland and Wales2Wikipedia Contributors (2022). Cladonia rangiferina. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladonia_rangiferina [Accessed 13 Jan. 2022].. As the name suggests it forms a substantial part of the diet of reindeer.

But C. portentosa is common on our moors, such as here on Bridestones Moor, forming dense mats of intricate branches among the heather stems. When you get down close to it, it really is beautiful.

 

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