Cladonia cristatella (British Soldier Lichen) | ©Roy Cohutta    (Calhoun County, Southwest Georgia, US)

British Soldiers is a lichen which gets its name from its resemblance to the uniforms worn by English soldiers during the Revolutionary War. 

The fungus in British Soldiers is called Cladonia cristatella. The algae is known as Trebouxia erici. Because lichens take the name of the fungus part of the relationship, British Soldiers is called Cladonia cristatella.

Cladonia cristatella (Lecanorales - Cladoniaceae) can usually be found growing on decaying wood, soil, mossy logs, tree bases, and stumps.

In the photo, one of the podetia (stalks) on the left side is broken (red apothecia absent on top), showing how the podetia are hollow. 


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British Soldiers lichen (Cladonia cristatella)

I was not entirely happy with my first try to photograph tiny but amazing lichens known as British Soldiers, so I decided to come back for a retake a month later. After erroneously putting wrong coordinates into GPS, driving twice longer and ending up in different forest, I was so lucky to find another group of these hard to find species - and now I am really happy to show off my pics!!!

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, N.J., November 2012