The British Soldiers or Cladonia Cristatella
Cladonia cristatella Photos
The British Soldiers, or Cladonia cristatella, are showing off their red caps and uniforms as they come into bloom and I am smiling every time I see one. I am not sure that it is considered blooming, but they certainly are showing off their colors.
I have loved the British Soldiers ever since I first learned about them as a child and they still have that feel good affect on me. My Dad used to call it Matchstick Moss as well because of the way it can look like a matchstick with its red head. I had actually forgotten about that until a few years ago.
Wildlife and nature photography is never boring, and almost always rewarding as long as there is light. Its macro-photography that really brings things to life with close up images.
Both an algae and a fungus!
British Soldiers are a lichen that is made up of two different species that have united together in a kind of symbiotic relationship. An algae and a fungus form together to create an organism that is different from each individual. Both can live independently of the other, but when they join together, something special happens and British Soldiers are created.
The name of this lichen comes from how the red part, which produces spores, looks like the red caps of the British soldiers uniforms during the American Revolutionary War. I would say that whoever named it was quite creative and gave these little gems a very fitting name.
I am always pleased to see the tiny red caps of the Soldiers in my rock gardens.
Photo of Frutose Lichen
One Question For You!
Have you seen British Soldiers before?
Frutose Lichen Found In Nature
I see the British Soldiers showing up in a variety of places. They are small, but do stand out when flashing their bright red color and they do stand up, which tells us that they are a type of lichen referred to as a frutose lichen, which is characterized by bright colors and either hanging down or standing up. It can grow right on the ground, on pieces of bark, stumps, and other dead wood. It can also be found growing on rocks. British Soldiers often shows up anywhere moss may be, I suppose they both have some similar nutritional needs. I have noticed that it grows very slowly, so if you see a larger colony in the wild, you can count yourself as very fortunate.
Red Caps On Lichen
The British Soldiers. YouTube video below shows some great nature photography and has a catchy tune for your listening and viewing pleasure. Really, I am not the only one who loves and appreciates Cladonia cristatella.
Cladonia cristatella - fungi kingdom YouTube video
I Use A Canon Powershot Camera for Macro-photogrpahy
I had never taken pictures of the British Soldiers before and it was a bit of a challenge due to their small size, but I am delighted with the results and am enjoying seeing them in more detail. I use a cheap little digital Canon Powershot Camera.
Close Up Images Help To See Small Subjects
© 2016 Susie Lehto