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What Do Lichens Look Like?

By Billie Abbott
Lichens live on tree bark, rocks, soil and leaves of plants.
tree lichen image by Jim Mills from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Lichens are formed when a fungus merges with green or blue algae. Lichens can be found on the bark of trees, leaves, rocks and soil. Lichens are sometimes confused with moss, but they are biologically different.

Identification Of Lichens

Lichens can be found in a variety of colors.
lichen image by TEA from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Lichens have plant like bodies without stems, leaves or roots. Lichens can be very small or cover large areas.

Foliose Lichens

Foliose lichens are leafy in appearance.
lichens 2 image by thierry planche from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Foliose lichens have a leafy appearance and can contain numerous bumps or ridges. They are loosely attached by threads that resemble roots.

Crustose Lichens

Crustose lichens are the most common form of lichen.
Lichen/gray background image by Bluebird from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

These lichens form a crust on the bark of trees and rocks. Crustose lichens adhere tightly, which makes it almost difficult for them to be removed.

Fruiticose Lichens

Fruiticose lichens resemble miniature shrubs.
Lichen image by Casseb from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The flashy three dimensional fruiticose lichens look more like plants than any of the other lichens. They often appear to be miniature shrubs as they are the most highly developed form of lichen.

Squamulose Lichens

Squamulose lichens attach at the bottom like miniature shingles.
lichen wall image by Anton Chernenko from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Squamulose lichens have small scale like lobes that overlap to form mats. These lichens are attached at only one end.


About the Author


Billie Abbott is a freelance writer, producing articles for numerous websites, including ParentDish and Gadling. She specializes in topics about gardening, animals, parenting and travel.