Xanthoria Polycarpa Lichen

Original charcoal drawing

Compressed charcoal on paper.

By Nick McMillen


The original of this piece has been sold, however prints of this image and others may still be available for purchase through our Prints page.

Having finished Lichen Twig 1, Nick was commissioned to draw Lichen Twig 2 so they could hang as a pair. The twig was found beneath the same tree as Lichen Twig 1.

Lichens comprise of two organisms, fungus and algae, which have formed a symbiotic relationship. Fungi don’t produce chlorophyll so can’t harvest their own energy from the sun as plants do. Algae do photosynthesis and have formed a partnership with fungi. In return for a supply of vital nutrients to the fungi, the algae gain protection from ultraviolet light by the structure of the fungi. It is the fungi which is the dominant partner in the relationship, in a way ’farming’ the algae to produce the food it needs.

Found beneath an ash tree on Windmill Farm, Colemore, Hampshire, UK.

If you have other proposals or ideas for commissions please use the contact form to contact Nick.