Ramalina and Xanthoria Lichen

Original Charcoal Drawing

Compressed charcoal on paper.

55cm x 70cm

By Nick McMillen

Mounted and framed


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Nick found this specimen during a walk along the Ichen Valley in Hampshire UK.

The contrast between the two different lichens was just perfect. The tightly clustered Xanthoria and the much more open and sculptural Ramalina.

Part of a series of lichen drawings started in 2021.

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.