No Snow but lots of British Soldiers…What?

IMG_1104 John and group mineral hillsI led a winter tracking hike into the Mineral Hills for Kestrel Land Trust.  There wasn’t much snow or mud even so there weren’t a lot of tracks to see.  But what a beautiful morning to be out in the woods!  The ice and snow was melting away, leaving the sun to warm up the lichen.  The name British Soldiers comes from the late 1700’s when colonists were still having a bit of a problem with british soldiers.  To me, they look like miniature tulips blooming. The pink earth lichen were also blooming all over the place!  And we enjoyed some horsetails as well.  Click on the photo to enlarge.IMG_0383 british soldiers 10 IMG_0377 british soldiers 9IMG_0365 group on top

Cladonia cristatella- British Soldier Lichen, Remember the fungus "houses" the algae and the algae feeds the fungus. The red flowers are actually spores. Once released, the spore will only become a british soldier if it comes into contact with the Trebouxia erici algae.
Cladonia cristatella- British Soldier Lichen, Remember the fungus “houses” the algae and the algae feeds the fungus. The red flowers are actually spores. Once released, the spore will only become a british soldier if it comes into contact with the Trebouxia erici algae.

IMG_0404 british soldiers penny

We also saw the seed containers of a grass correctly named Seedbox, hmmm, I wonder why?
We also saw the seed containers of a grass correctly named Seedbox, hmmm, I wonder why?

IMG_0386 pink earth 8 IMG_0392 pink earth hand IMG_0373IMG_0399 british soldier ice

Equisetum. This is a spore container called a stobili. Horsetails are living fossils, living on the earth for over 100 million years. Some were as large as trees, almost 100 feet tall! Now they grow 3 feet high.
Equisetum. This is a spore container called a stobili. Horsetails are living fossils, living on the earth for over 100 million years. Some were as large as trees, almost 100 feet tall! Now they grow 3 feet high.
Equisetum. This is a spore container called a stobili.  Horsetails are living fossils, living on the earth for over 100 million years. Some were as large as trees,  almost 100 feet  tall!  Now they grow3 feet high.
Pink Earth Lichen- Dibaeis baeomyces. It makes the earth pink! It also makes a crust and slowly help rejuvenate disturbed soils.

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