Lichen & Moss Appearance
Date: Fall 2010
Hi there, I have a question regarding lichen and mosses. I
have heard that lichen persists over many years, and that the reason
we do not see it during the drier months (summer) is that it browns
and blends in with its substructure. Is this true? Does this hold true
for moss as well? Or is it only ephemeral, appearing during the wet
seasons, and then dying and disappearing--and so the moss that grows
in the following year, possibly in the same place, is completely new
moss that has germinated?
Lichens can persist for many years. Lichens reproduce both by
diaspores, and by vegetatively spreading -- there is even a science of
lichenometry to estimate the age of exposed rock surfaces based on the
spread of a particular lichen.
There are different colors and growth forms of lichens:
some more noticeable than others.
Mosses reproduce both by spores and vegetatively spreading.
Mosses tend to "green up" after taking up water from rain, so they may
be more noticeable then.
Missouri Botanical Garden
c/o Harvard University Herbaria
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Update: June 2012