What Do Lichens Look Like?

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Lichens live on tree bark, rocks, soil and leaves of plants.
Lichens live on tree bark, rocks, soil and leaves of plants. (Image: 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 have plant like bodies without stems, leaves or roots. Lichens can be very small or cover large areas.

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

Foliose Lichens

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

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

Crustose Lichens

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.

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

Fruiticose Lichens

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.

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

Squamulose Lichens

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

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

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