The museum’s Herbarium has two major NSF grants to digitize and improve the cryptogam collection, like the terrestrial lichens in this photo by Karen Dillman, an ecologist with the Tongass National Forest. The photographer went to grad school with our Herbarium Curator Steffi Ickert-Bond. “She always told me about Alaska… funny enough I ended up here as well.”

From top:

Terrestrial lichens are pioneer species in high light environments such as these on the Juneau Icefield, Cladonia bellidiflora (red tips) and the cyano-bacteria-associated Stereocaulon (white).

The terrestrial lichens often found on granitic rocks in the alpine and other high light environments like the Juneau Icefield: Cladonia bellidiflora (red tips), Cladonia cornuta (slender brown), with fragments of Cladonia rangiferina (white with small branches), and Stereocaulon in the lower left.



So, I’m a big geek when it comes to the cryptogams - those lower-order plants like mosses, algae, ferns….and, in this case, lichens. I’m a little obsessed with how they look, with how they work, with the way something so fragile and delicate and sensitive can also be so incredibly long-lived and hardy and resilient.  

These beautiful golden scales colonizing an old tree in a wetland close to home are no exception.

Colourfully cunning cryptoflorigraphic conundrum

Image: From the ‘Voynich manuscript’.

Botany is not without its mysteries. And one that’s previously eluded solution for 600 years or so is that of the so-called Voynich manuscript, an illustrated codex (a book made up of a number of sheets) consisting of about 240 pages, hand-written in an unknown writing system. Carbon-dated to the early 15th century, there are nevertheless suggestions that it…

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Musci exotici :containing figures and descriptions of new or little known foreign mosses and other cryptogamic subjects /by William Jackson Hooker. on Flickr.

Publication info London :Printed for Richard and Arthur Taylor … for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown,1818-1820.
Contributing Library:
Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter H. Raven Library
BioDiv. Library