I keep thinking I see letters of the alphabet in these photographs as if this lichen is trying to tell me something but I can’t quite make out the message!

160122 lecanora chlarotera (2)

Though I’m finding lichens quite difficult to identify, even with my newly acquired guide charts, I’m fairly sure this is Lecanora chlarotera, a very common and widespread British lichen. As it will tolerate moderate amounts of air pollution, it can frequently be seen on the twigs and trunks of young semi-urban tree plantings, of the sort you might see around a shopping centre. It is also found in sparsely planted woodlands, where it benefits from more light than a densely planted forest would provide.

160122 lecanora chlarotera (1)

The lichen’s base colour ranges from cream to pale grey, it varies in texture from smooth to what one website describes as ‘strongly warted … like lumpy porridge’, and its apothecia (the little saucer-shaped fruiting bodies) range in colour from pale beige to a rusty brown. As with most lichens, you have to look closely to see how pretty it is.

160122 lecanora chlarotera (3)