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​Find past newsletter articles, press releases, and other media showcasing local agriculture, placed-based education, and conservation of natural resources in Sullivan County.

Hot Lips

I can't get enough of lichens these days. I enjoy bright colors and wet lichens do not disappoint. A few common types of lichen have bright red apothecium (reproductive structures). Lipstick Powderhorn, British Soldiers, and Red-fruited Pixie Cup are a few and all in the genus Cladonia. The lipstick lichen apothecium looks like two luscous lips with red lipstick on them inspiring the nickname 'Hot Lips".

I first encountered this lichen group in the Great Smoky Mountains, though they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They are usually found on the ground growing on bare soil, dead wood, at the base of trees, and occasionally on rocks.

The red apothecia (reproduction structures) are on the top of a stalk. The stalk helps the fungal spores disperse further than if they were close to the ground.


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