Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Mystery

It was the stone with the luxuriant lichen growth that caught our attention. It lay high on a hill, during the recent cold, damp weather, yet it seemed to be home to such a variety of life forms, including what may be three lichens and a moss, while all around it life was in deep hibernation.

But it is the soft, liver-red material to its right that intrigues us. We sometimes find it, in patches, high in the hills, and often several patches close together and then none for miles. At first we thought it might be the skins from a fruit such as rowan berries which had been collected and then left, or an animal's faeces, but closer inspection make both these seem unlikely. Has anyone any idea of what this might be?


  1. It looks similar to a cyanobacterium called Nostoc which we get growing on our paths after a damp spell. It is an extremophile, so suited to cold, exposed situations. The colour is intriguing, as all internet entries show it as green. Maybe you have found a subspecies? Link here: http://www.downgardenservices.org.uk/bluegreenalgae.htm

  2. Many thanks, Derryck. Third picture down is exactly it - but, as you say, the wrong colour. Can we claim a new species? Jon