Although red maples are attractive and often display spectacular fall foliage, they are not rare in Pennsylvania forests. In fact, red maple it is the most common tree species in the state.
Because you can expect to routinely encounter red maples, it’s not particularly surprising that one appears in the photo from A Forest Study: North Trailhead. That is why I am more interested, at least for now, in briefly discussing the lichen growing on that tree.
Lichen, which is not harmful to the tree, consists of two organisms – a fungus and algae. In this symbiotic relationship, the fungus collects moisture needed by the algae, and the algae photosynthesizes food for both organisms.
I have included a brief Penn State Extension video: Do Lichens Cause Harm to Trees. This video provides an overview of how lichens function and addresses its impact on trees.
Your feedback is always welcome! Please feel free to comment or submit questions at the end of this post.