Monday, January 28, 2013

Evidence of Time

 Lichens are fungi right? Yes, very much so but they are also algae. Both? Wow. I am currently employed as a lichen caretaker.  These are my babies. But they are very old.  Old, old nineteenth century babies, I love you so much.  Actually my job is to take pictures of the packages of the lichens.  But sometimes I look inside the pretty boxes.  I don't have time to take note of the names, I can't tell you what their genera are, or exactly just how old they are.  But I can tell you sometimes they come in pretty boxes, like the one above that is the best shade of pink. I think that one was from Japan.
Great design layout here.
 Ooh! This one is from 1905: Hidalgo, Mexico.  It's kind of nuts to imagine the now late botanists scrummaging through this and that, all for lichens.  And now I get to touch them?!  Luckily they are safe to touch. Lichens don't need any special chemicals to stay preserved unlike many plants, which really needed special chemicals before air conditioning was 'a thing' to avoid humid breakouts.  Crumb, an old, late Michigan naturalist/moss specialist purportedly said when asked about using special chemicals to preserve lichens, "The only thing I know of that eats lichens is reindeer, so until I see a reindeer in the herbarium I think we're safe."
There are so many different kinds of lichens.  Don't even get me started.  I am working through our vast collection alphabetically.  I'm already on the 's'.  So even though I can't tell you what is in these pictures you see, I can tell you they all being with the letter 's'.  Hope it helps.  Now, back to the lichens and Julie Klausner Podcast.

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