Lichens and Bryophytes of Duranceau Park

What is Lichen?

Lichen is a symbiotic association of ascomycete fungi, photobiont (algae or cyanobacteria) and yeast (2 Fungi 1 Alga). The algae however are much more common than the cyanobacteria in lichens.

Anatomy of Lichen

Forms of Lichen


Act as the crust of a rock and are almost integrated into the rock. It does not peel off and can be mistaken as just the rock.


This lichen is a bit leafy looking but still closely held to the surface of the rock. But, it can be peeled away and they are fairly conspicuous.


These lichens no longer stay as a sheet on the rock and go into the 3D having fruiting bodies which can have a variety of shapes and sizes.

Useful Lichen

Lichens have a few important uses. The oldest use is their natural use of biodegredation and creation of colonizable soil for other plants and therefor creation of habitable areas due to this degredation. Second is the medicinal route being a common material used in traditional medicine. Finally a modern-ish use for them is use of lichens to synthesize dyes out of. Bonus: Some birds use lichen as ‘shingling’ for their nests.

Meet the Lichens

*All information from Common Lichen’s of Ohio: Field Guide*

Bottlebrush Frost Lichen

In higher quality photos (and closer) it could be seen that there is a powdery or ‘frosted’ substance on the tips. The undersurface is also black and the top (center) is greyish brown.

Common Stippleback (Dermatocarpon muhlenbergii)

This one is wet and so took on its characteristic dull green-brown hue. It also looks leathery and about the size of an American coin dollar.

Plitt’s Rock Shield

The lobes of this one are yellow-green. The biggest teller is the apothecia which are like cups with dark centers (Shown in the picture). Another thing is that it only grows on sandstone, not limestone which helps with ID.

Rough Speckled Shield Lichen

This lichen is obviously foliose and the top is this grey-green with a rough-looking texture. There are also white speckles usually around the lobe tips which are pseudocyphellae that seem to be pores but are actually breaks in the cortex.

Meet the Bryophytes

Liverwort: Porella

This liverwort can be known to be in the Porella genus due to how leafy it looks branching out. Also, its location in a shady little carve out with plenty of moisture was good. Its coloring being dark green also assists in the sureness of the ID.

Moss: Anomodon

Blurry: Dark & Shaky Hand

This moss is distinct for its thick mats with many branching ‘plants’ all over it. The leaves are dull as well due to being papillose. It is also called poodle moss and it looks a lot like green ‘fur’ on the surface when looking at it from a distance.

The Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

There is a possibility of confusing this Chinquapin Oak for the Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana). There are some differentiating features with the Chinquapin having pointier tipped lobes and the biggest difference is the soils they grow in with Chinquapin Oak growing in limestone-rich soils and the Chestnut Oak growing in sandstone-rich and acidic pH soils.