Opegrapha subelevata

I was walking down the hill one day last year when a woman approached me saying “do you know you have a very rare lichen growing on your property”.  To be honest I have been approached with more bizarre statements and she seemed friendly enough so I went for the full lichen tutorial.  I hadn’t previously paid much attention to lichen and although I appreciate they are wonderous organisms they are possibly a little too subtle for me.  Lichen are a dual organism consisting of both a fungus and an algae existing in a symbiotic relationship.  Lichen lovers are very special people.  So she pointed out the aforementioned lichen, Opegrapha subelevata, and we studied it with a hand lens.  Speaking as someone who has been educated on the subject to me it still it looks like some soot smeared on a rock.  However now I feel responsible for this lichen, so rare it doesn’t even have a common name.  It is on the Red Data List produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature which means it is endangered and apparently exists in only four other sites in the Britain.  No pressure then.  Today I cleared the ivy and brambles that were threatening to shade out the delicate one, these thugs are not the main threat, the steady march of Mind Your Own Business is our main problem……..

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