(Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
Lichens are complex organisms. They are not plants, but are fungi, living in a symbiotic relationship with either an alga or a cyanobacteria (depending on the type of lichen).
If you wish to see more photos of the world of Cryptogams (mosses, liverworts, hornworts and lichens) visit this link .
Some of the photography is stunning, and this is a world which few of us ever get to see in detail. This is part of the Australian National Botanic Gardens website - one of my favourite websites.
Quoting from the ANBG page on Cryptogams: "The non-fungal partner (or photobiont) contains chlorophyll and produces its own food. The fungus provides structural support and a fairly stable microenvironment for the non-fungal partner. Most lichens derive their shape from the fungal partner with the non-fungal cells often confined to a single layer just below the exposed surface of the lichen. The lichens also vary greatly in size, from tiny species to long, trailing species." (Cryptogams - panel 3)
My little red boxing glove Lichens, are seemingly close to the purple-topped species illustrated towards the bottom of page 9 of the Cryptogams site (scroll down the page).
So I (over-confidently) proclaim my specimens also to be in the "Metus" genus of lichens. (How would I really know?)
But I still think of them as Jim's Red Boxing-Glove Lichens.
*****These are just some of the joys of going bushwalking in the local (Robertson) area. If you are interested to learn more about bushwalking - contact me, directly, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or check out the National Parks Association's Program of scheduled bushwalks for July and August 2006.
This Program covers bushwalks for all of NSW, but it includes walks in the Southern Highlands, and the Illawarra.