I know, you had NO questions — and no interest — in Cumberland Rock Shield Lichen but that doesn’t stop crazy old coots who like crawling around in all kind of miserable weather and get excited over things like this.
Get wet and muddy and fall over here and there and then get excited because you’ve found a sedge, or rush or, as above, a lichen? Yes, I’d rather find a new plant that have a 7-course dinner in the best restaurant in the world (of course, not caring a whit about food helps).
Annie Dillard addressed this memorably in my bible, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
“I have often noticed that these things, which obsess me, neither bother nor impress other people even slightly. I am horribly apt to approach some innocent at a gathering, and like the ancient mariner, fix him with a wild, glitt’ring eye and say, “Do you know that in the head of the caterpillar of the ordinary goat moth there are two hundred twenty-eight separate muscles?” The poor wretch flees. I am not making chatter; I mean to change his life.”
There’s another crazy woods wanderer on a lovely, lovely site called New England Gardeners’ Solution and he also sought the CRSL and this is what he has to say about it:
Cumberland rock shield lichen (Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia) likes to grow on boulders and that’s where I found this one. The body (Thallus) is described as being “yellow-green to sometimes bluish green” and the fruiting discs (Apothecia) are “cinnamon to dark brown.” The body of this lichen always looks like someone dripped candle wax on the stone to me.
And the promised facts, which weren’t easy to find.
Cumberland Rock Shield Lichen is a grey to green lichen which is found across much of North and South America. It is a relatively large lichen and grows on rocks, where it is tightly attached and impossible to remove. They can grow to 30 cm across the colonies can be of various shapes. The lichen is divided into deep irregular shapes near the center and often have a black edge. The underside of the lichen is a light brown color.The cup shaped fruiting bodies are known as apothecia, and are present on short stalks on the surface of the lichen. The apothecia are up to 10 mm in diameter and often have toothed edges on the outside edge of the cups. Pycnidia, which are asexual reproductive organs, are also common on the lichen that look like small, flask shaped structures on the surface of the lichen body, which produce single cells as part of asexual reproduction. The pycnidia are very small and are visible as tiny black dots.