Notes: These are photos of the same lichen (I hope) growing from my ‘Purple Splendor’ azalea hedge in front of my home in SE Portland. Other than trying to get a clear photo of these fungi, they are growing rather profusely all over these azaleas. I understand that lichens on rhodies and azaleas are an indication of plant health, at least locally.
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The narrow-lobed thing in the first two pictures looks like a Ramalina. Need a closer look to be sure: is it the same color and texture on both sides? Would need to examine it closely to see if it has apothecia (little round disc-shaped fruiting bodies) or soredia (powdery granules), and if so where they occur. Also check for whitish markings, typically elongate like little cracks.
The broad-lobed thing in the third picture looks like it has black underneath, making it almost certainly Parmelia (check for rhizines, it should have some).
Presence of lichens such as these indicate a stable, moist, often well-lit micro-environment. To the extent that your rhodies and azaleas like those same conditions, they are a good indicator of their health. But remember that lichens (at least fruticose lichens like these) derive no nutrients from the host itself — they will grow quite happily on dead shrubs, sometimes better because there are fewer leaves to block the light, and the surface they are trying to attach to has been there longer!
Created: 2008-09-27 18:14:02 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2008-09-27 18:14:02 EDT (-0400)
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