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COLORFUL LICHENS OF WOLF ROAD PRAIRIE



On June 25, 2011, about 20 enthusiastic "licheneers" gathered at the 31st Street Kiosk to meet Rich Hyerczyk, Chicago Lichenological Society, and join him for a Lichen Trek at Wolf Road Prairie.

Rich was well prepared for his program. He shared colorful photos and information on lichens of the region from his book collection and passed around lichen samples on twigs and other materials.



Over 30 species of lichens are known from Wolf Road Prairie and are represented by 16 Crustose forms (crust-like), 15 Foliose forms (leaf-like), and 2 Fruticose forms (shrub-like).

Once the Trek got underway, Rich pointed out lichens growing on tree bark, downed logs and stones. Lichens were also discovered thriving on aging cement sidewalks installed in the south 40 acres of the prairie in the mid-1920's. The sidewalks laid a grid for a planned Westchester housing development at the site which failed following the Great Depression of 1929. The prairie has remained undeveloped and preserved to the present day.



Discovering lichens at Wolf Road Prairie added another dimension to the biodiversity of the preserve. Hikers learned how lichen species play a role in the dynamics of the ecosystems at the site. A lichen species new to Wolf Road Prairie was discovered on a cottonwood tree at the western boundary of the preserve.

Lynora Jensen took photographs of lichens on the trek. Rich has identified them as Physcia millegrana, Cladonia cf coniocraea and an Unknown Cladonia species on the top photo. The middle photo shows Xanthoria polycarpa, Caloplaca cerina, and Candelaria concolor. The bottom photo shows Candelaria concolor, Caloplaca cerina, Phaeophyscia ciliata, Physcia stellaris, Candelaria concolor. .

For more information on lichens, click here
Lichen Species List at Wolf Road Prairie
Lichen Biology
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