Wolf Lichen

Wolf Lichen

Letharia vulpina, commonly known as the wolf lichen is bright yellow-green, shrubby and highly branched, and grows on the bark of living and dead conifers, most commonly in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rocky Mountains. This lichen is a symbiotic relationship between algae and a fungus. The algae help photosynthesize the light from the sun producing sugars for the fungus to eat. The fungus in return help plants absorb the mineral nutrients necessary for growth in extreme environments. This specimen was found near the Old Faithful geyser basin in Yellowstone. This species is toxic to mammals due to its yellow pigment, which is not chlorophyll, but vulpinic acid and has been used for years to poison wolves. It is also been used as pigment for dyes and paints.

The snow began, but I was already out and about. I went over to Forest Park. It was pretty deserted. I visited the zoo and pretty much had it to myself. On the way back, I swung by Art Hill, but it was still too early to see any action there, but the grass was getting whiter by the minute. The city had dumped a couple of truckloads of firewood. I cut through the art museum, but I couldn’t stay very long, because they were going to close early, due to the weather. The streets were all snow-covered, as I carefully drove home. I’m waiting for Anne to call, so that I can rescue her from school. Then we’ll hunker down for the weekend. 

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