Wolf Lichen 2015

Kennedy Meadows, Stanislaus National Forest, April 2015

Letharia vulpina ("wolf lichen") on incense cedar bark, western slope of the Sierra Nevada, California. Letharia columbiana, in the previous portrait, is its sister species.

This was the most widely used dye lichen for indigenous peoples in western North America, used from the Rockies to the Pacific coast, from California to Alaska. Some groups also made paint from it.

This lichen is sufficiently poisonous that the Achomawi in Northern California used it to make poison arrowheads, but the Okanagan-Colville made a weak tea of it to treat internal problems, and it was a Blackfoot remedy for stomach disorders.

The thallus, or vegetative body, has a fructicose shape — that is, shrubby and densely branched — and a bright yellow to yellow-green, or chartreuse color, although the color will fade in drier specimens. Its dimensions are typically 2 to 7 cm (0.79 to 2.76 in) in diameter. The vegetative reproductive structures soredia and isidia are present on the surface of the thalli, often abundantly.

Sourced from: http://www.lichen.com/bigpix/Lvulpina.html -- and -- Wikipedia

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