Pixie Cup Lichen

Lichens have always fascinated me, but it’s the little cup lichens that I find exceptionally intriguing. I think these ones may be Cladonia pyxidata, a pixie cup Lichen. They make for an exquisite miniature landscape, and although I didn’t see any myself, it’s not hard to imagine that a Pixie might indeed inhabit this sort of magical place. These pixie cups are growing in small beds of moss and earth tucked into a craggy rock .

I was struck by how they look so remarkably like an underwater landscape of corals and sea anemones and the sense of this is enhanced with a very shallow depth of field. Perhaps too shallow. But I am not finished looking at this tiny world.

All images © Karen McRae, 2012

50 thoughts on “Pixie Cup Lichen

  1. Isn’t it funny that I posted pictures of lichen on bark just last night. Yours are much closer and so much more detailed. I love it. I don’t think I can get that close even with my macro setting.

    1. Thanks very much, Polly.
      I think they are really cool and plan to explore them more.
      I hadn’t related them to the wrapped trees actually but now that you mention it, I could see the anthropomorphic correlation.

  2. Wonderful, Karen! Poetic looking little things! The selective focusing you got on these shots is amazing.

  3. Symbiosis of Algae and Fungi = Lichen kept fascinates me since I was small.
    It looks almost between Life and Non-life. Life or mere stone Structure.?
    Was that just a successful tactics for survival or their last resort to survive ?
    = to my eyes, they are the symbol of hard life on this planet.
    As always, your photo captured this deep chasm “beyond the life” well.

  4. I used to study lichens on rocks and trees, as I child I even had a small compulsion to taste them. I always thought they were strangely beautiful. The tree the front yard of my boyhood home was always covered.

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