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Blotchy Bark

Blotchy Bark

lichen on a silver wattle tree
Lichens growing on Silver Wattle trunks
Photographer - John Broomfield
Source - Museum Victoria

The motley patches on the bark of this Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata, are lichens.

Lichens are a primitive form of life that can be found all over the globe. They are a combination of a moss and an alga that rely on each other for their existence (symbiosis).

There are a large number of species that are yet to be scientifically described.

They help decompose rocks and logs and so are important to soil creation. Lichens favour some sunshine over constant shade and are thought to benefit from periodic drying out. The conditions required for some to thrive can be most specific. When shifted they often deteriorate.

Small birds such as robins use lichen for nesting material.

Lichens are fascinating to study under a magnifying glass.


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