Hikin' to Find Lichen

Price Lake


to Find


Like, What's a Lichen?!

Lichens are actually two organisms living together in a relationship called symbiosis. They can take many forms, but every lichen contains a fungus and an algae. The fungus provides structure while the algae produces food that helps the whole lichen survive.

Algae is able to produce its own food through a process called photosynthesis. Its green clorophyl converts sunlight and water into sugars that can be used by the algae and fungus for energy.

Fungus is able to build structure to shelter the algae and anchor it to a surface (bark, rock, soil, etc.). The fungus can not produce its own food and relies on the algae for energy.

Three Forms of Lichen

Although lichens are diverse, lichens can be found in three major forms. Tap each form to explore more!

Crustose lichens are thin like crust. The lichen's edges stay flat against the object it is growing on. Crustose lichens grow slowly and some are among the oldest living organisms on earth! This form of lichen is known for growing in a wide range of colors. Can you find these colors of Crustose Lichen?
  • Green

  • Blue

  • Yellow

  • Orange

  • Red

  • Brown

  • Gray

Q. Which of these organisms is NOT part of a lichen?

Foliose Lichen
Foliose lichens look like dry wavy foliage (leaves). The edges curl up away from the surface they are growing on. The leafy surface changes based on the moisture in the environment. A processs called poikilohydry allows lichens to switch-off and go dormant when conditions are dry and then switch-on when moisture arrives. Look for dormant and active lichens on your adventure today.
  • Dormant

    The lichen is dry, brittle, and dull in color

  • Active

    The lichen is soft and vibrant in color

Q. What kind of symbiotic relationship makes the lichen?

Fruticose Lichen
Fruticose lichens are the most three-dimensional lichens. Some look like miniature fruit trees without leaves while others hang down from branches like hair. Can you find lichens that look like these shapes?
  • Branches

  • Cups

  • Hairs

  • Other

Q. Which part of the lichen can produce food?

Stuck on Substrates

A substrate is simply the surface that the lichen attaches to and grows. Different lichens prefer different substrates. Tap each substrate you find lichen growing on to check it off.

  • Rock

  • Bark

  • Soil

  • Other

When you finish your hike, tap the button below to TRACK your adventure!