British Soldiers Lichen
British Soldiers grow very slowly - only 1-2 millimeters each year. A lichen is not just one organism, but is made of fungus and algae, living together to form a new organism. The fungus in British Soldiers is called Cladonia cristatella. The algae is Trebouxia erici. Because lichens take the name of the fungus part of the relationship, British Soldiers are classified as Cladonia cristatella.
This is my favorite lichen! Unfortunately, I spotted this one midday, in full sun, and it was growing on a post situated in the middle of a tick-infested meadow. But, still, I was happy to see it!
''Cladonia cristatella'', commonly known as the British soldier lichen, is a fruticose lichen belonging to the family Cladoniaceae. The species was first described scientifically by the American Botanist Edward Tuckerman in 1858.