Wednesday 21 October 2015

Arthonia radiata at Giggleswick Churchyard and churchyard work parties

Most lichens have disc shaped reproductive bodies. Arthonia radiata has reproductive bodies that look like little black stars or ink blobs
"The thallus (body) of the lichen is a smooth, greyish white crust
with  embedded,  black,  variable  but  usually  irregularly  stellate
apothecia (fruiting bodies) (typically 1-2mm in diameter);"

Arthonia radiata disappeared from areas where there was a lot of sulphur dioxide pollution in the air (during the industrial revolution and up to the smogs of the 1950s. ) However the air has become cleaner with respect to sulphur dioxide and lichenologists are finding it in lots of places now.

Whilst I was there I  met Tony and Wendy Carroll busy strimming and raking the long grass in the churchyard and discovering memorials under the mounds of False Oat-grass. They told me about the team of volunteers from the village (and elsewhere) that has just started meeting on Monday afternoons to maintain the churchyard.

The front is always neatly maintained - Here the holly berries are out in autumn but will be gone by Christmas

Prof Mark Seaward showed me some on a beech tree in this churchyard in 2009, when he ran the lichens day here for the Institute of Biology

I went back to that tree  on 21 Oct 2015 and the patch is still there.

(I think this is the Arthonia .. I am open to correction.. the ink blots do seem to have stretched horizontally somewhat.




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