Parmotrema Lichen

Original Charcoal Drawing

Compressed charcoal on paper.

55cm x 70cm

By Nick McMillen

Mounted and framed


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This cool little lichen was found by Nicks son, who has been enrolled in the Lichen gathering team. He is for ever coming back from bimbles around the lanes and fields with little specimens to see if they are of interest to Nick.

One of its common names is ‘Ruffle’ lichen and it is easy to see why. It was this ruffle structure that firstly drew Nicks son to it and then Nick aswel.

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 photosynthesise and have formed a partnership with fungi. In return for a supply of vital nutrients to the fungi, the algae gain protection from ultra-violet 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.