Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Question of the Week – Lichens

Posted by romeethredge on January 22, 2014

Last week I had a photo of something growing on a limb in three forms. It’s lichens. Crustose (Crusty) is the flat form. Fructicose (shrubby) is the form that looks a little like deer antlers to me. The third form is Foliose (leafy) with wavy leaves. You can see all three in the photo below.

Here’s some information from our UGA publication, “The Truth about Slime Molds, Spanish Moss, Lichens and Mistletoe.”

Here’s the link to the full publication. http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=7389

“Lichens are composite, symbiotic organisms made up from members of as many as three biological kingdoms . The lichen fungi cultivate partners that manufacture food by photosynthesis. Sometimes the partners are algae, other times cyanobacterium, formerly called blue-green algae. Some enterprising fungi exploit both at once.

The alga or cyanobacterium converts sunlight and carbon dioxide to food for the lichen fungus and in return the lichen fungus protects the alga/cyanobacterium from drying out. 

Lichens are found on rocks, tortoise shells, window panes, and plants. As plants are stressed and begin to decline, the reduced canopy allows sunlight to enter and support photosynthesis for the lichen. The presence of lichens are often an indicator of poor plant health but it is never the cause. Lichens are harmless to plants and, if overall plant health is improved, the vibrant canopy should inhibit any sunlight available for lichen photosynthesis.”

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Here’s this week’s question. A wheat grower asked me to look at this nice field of wheat they are growing for grain harvest in May. I was surprised at what I saw in this field near the Chattahoochee river in southern Seminole County. What caused this and why?

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One Response to “Question of the Week – Lichens”

  1. Jimmy Laska said

    Appears to be sighns of the infamous “Sus scrofa domesticus”. AKA, hog, pig, piney wood rooter, razor back, South GA plague!
    Jimmy Laska

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