Pilophorus Acicularis

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Pilophorus Acicularis, Vancouver Island, BC
Pilophorus Acicularis, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Pilophorus acicularis, or as it is more commonly known, the nail lichen or the devil’s matchstick, it is a species of lichen in the Cladoniaceae family.

 The lichen begins life as a rough crust on the rock surface and then develops fruticose stalks that can be up to 3 cm tall and about 1 mm thick, you will find black apothecia on the tips.  It grows directly on silicate rocks in dense clusters. It is found in the Pacific Northwest, and on all of Vancouver Island. This lichen contains cyanobacteria, it has the ability to supply nitrogen to the soil.

Pilophorus Acicularis, Vancouver Island, BC
Pilophorus Acicularis, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

This is a great lichen to find, the way the stems all flow in the same direction, gives them the look of being combed, or perhaps they look like nails ready for the nail gun.

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