The British are coming... November 01, 2007
This is one invasion you may look forward to! In the world of native flora, lichens are a specialty plant created by a combination of two different species. Lichens are formed when algae and fungus join in a mutualistic relationship. This household of two need each other, not necessarily to survive, but to survive in this form.
British Soldiers, Cladonia cristatella is the name of the organism formed by the Trebouxia erici algae and the fungus Cladonia cristatella. The lichen takes its name from the fungus, which lives upon a "house" of algae and produces spores to reproduce as a fungi.
The common name British Soldiers is thought to be a tribute to the Red-coats of the Revolutionary War. These mini-marchers are not any larger than the buttons from those long-ago uniforms. Locating British Soldiers takes the keen eye of a sharp shooter. These were photographed at Shawnee State Park, but they can be found found many places in Ohio.
The British lost that war, however we are richer for the flora named as a reminder of the Red-coats who once ruled our country. For more information on British Soldiers and lichens click here