Pincushion Sunburst Lichen

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Pincushion Sunburst Lichen, Lichens, Pacific Northwest
Pincushion Sunburst Lichen, Photo By Bud Logan

The Pincushion Sunburst Lichen is a very pretty lichen that grows all over the Pacific Northwest.  Found on dead and living twigs and in the axils of wide-spreading branches, quite often found on fruit trees and hardwoods. Shaded specimens take on a light yellow hue. The small yellow tightly knit clusters of apothecia help in its identification. Its Latin name is Xanthoria polycarpa.

The thallus is yellow in color, small and round-shaped with abundant apothecia. It is usually in the range of 0.5 cm to 2.5 cm in diameter. The lobes are convex and pale greenish at the margins. The lobes are branched and narrow, they widen towards the apex reaching a width of 1 mm. The under surface is white with short attachment structures. Overall it is brittle to the touch.

When the sun comes out after a rain and shines on these lichens, its an awesome sight, a feast for the eyes.

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