August 20th, 2010


50 More Urban Species #28: Sunburst lichen

Sunburst lichen Xanthoria parietina

I like to think of sunburst lichen as green shield lichen's bizarro British cousin, looking a lot like New England's most common lichen except for the bright orange hue. But sunburst lichen can be found in some North American coastal locations, as well as in Europe, North Africa, and even Australia. I still was amazed at how ubiquitous it was in Britain on my recent visit. Coastal cliffsides spattered orange, beautiful sunspots on boulders, and even as pictured above, man-made objects coated with resilient and vibrant life. Sunburst lichen is pollution and metal-tolerant, making it one of the lichen species more likely to occur near cities.