Freckle Pelt Lichen

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Lichens, Pacific Northwest

Freckle Pelt Lichen, Vancouver Island, BC
Freckle Pelt Lichen, Photo By Bud Logan

Freckle Pelt Lichen is a leaf lichen, the leaves are loosely attached and are up to 5 cm wide. They are dull grayish green when dry but turn bright green when wet. You will see scattered warts on them. The lower surface sometimes has broad, cotton like, inconspicuous veins, that darken inward from the tips of the lobes.

You can see them growing on moss, humus, decaying logs, and rocks, usually in forested areas, they are very common and widespread across Vancouver Island, they are a northern plant.

The brown to black dots on the upper surface of freckle pelt contain small colonies of cyanobacteria, which supply the lichen with nitrogen. These organisms can extract nitrogen from the air and supply this nutrient to the lichen fungi and its green algae partner.

Caribou actively forage for this lichen in the winter months. Swedish peasants at one time, believed that military fever (a fever that was epidemic in the 15th and 16th centuries and characterized by profuse sweating and high mortality) could be cured by boiling Freckle Pelt and then applying the solution to the sores. Freckle pelt lichen was also boiled to make a wash for treating chapped skin on adults feet and babies bottoms.

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