Pick Up Fallen Sticks and Make a Local Lichen Wreath!
Since Cape Cod has clean, moist air, lichen thrives on our trees, shrubs, and rocks. Some types of lichen grow right on top of sandy soils, especially in some woodlands. Lichen is not moss. Instead, lichen is a composite organism that arises from a mutualistic relationship between algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species. It is a great example of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole, since lichen’s properties are different from the elements of the organisms that it’s made of.
Here’s the bottom line: lichen isn’t hurting the trees or shrubs it grows on. People often notice it on trees that are weak or dying, but the lichen isn’t what is causing the plant to deteriorate. Lichens tend to grow more on trees with a thin canopy or on dead branches since they get more sunlight in those areas. Lichens photosynthesize, so they often prosper where there is more sun.
Since we’ve had several wind storms lately, many have lichen covered sticks all over their lawn. We’re here to suggest that these make lovely wreaths, and add a local character to swags and outdoor holiday arrangements. Here’s how you can create your own lichen wreath.