Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Surprise on a dismal day

Earlier today I trudged around Dennett's Garden Centre in Daventry. In the chilly, grey, sunless conditions I found little to catch my interest. Only yesterday, in brilliant sunshine, I had been photographing a Red Admiral butterfly in my front garden as it imbibed nectar at a Hebe. (Of course we must now refer to Hebe species as shrubby Veronicas - but that is another story.) Where was I?

Red Admiral on Veronica (Hebe). Stefen Hill, Daventry.
31 October, 2016

Back to the garden centre. I stooped to read a label and there on the gravelly path at my feet glistened a wrinkled patch of greenish jelly. Perhaps a 'jelly lichen', I thought, but which one? Putting down a 50 pence coin for scale I took a photograph.
When enlarged the details became clearer. Perhaps a Collema species?

These curious organisms are not my 'thing' but following a careful examination I concluded that it was Collema auriforme. The specific name means 'ear-shaped' and certainly some of the folded lobes of the thallus are rather ear-shaped. It is reasonably common in England and it is not unusual to find it on mortar, but I was inordinately pleased. The day suddenly seemed brighter.

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