North Trailhead: Red Maple & Lichen

Panorama offering a look into a mixed species Pennsylvania woodlot in late February.

North trailhead panorama

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.

Medium size red maple with lichen

Red Maple with Lichen

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. 

 

 

 

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