Coast & Sea Areas

Wild Harris

Shore Plants- Lichens

On rocky shores and on rocks near sandy beaches you will find lichens. There are lots of different kinds – all different shapes and colours, forming crusts on the rocks.

xanthoria parietina 1 LCampbell.jpgXanthoria parietina    (Photo: Laurie Campbell)

lecanora atra 1 LCampbell.jpgLeconora atra    (Photo: Laurie Campbell)

caloplaca thallincola 1 LCampbell.jpgCaloplaca thallincola    (Photo: Laurie Campbell)

Lichens are a special sort of plant. They are a combination of an algae and a fungus – both need each other in order to grow on a rock, as no other plant would be able to grow here.

Lichens are very important for making dyes. They are still used to dye the wool to make Harris tweed. Different lichens can make different colours.

parmelia saxatilis 1 LCampbell.jpgParmelia saxatalis    (Photo: Laurie Campbell)

This lichen gives a deep red-brown colour – another, similar lichen gives a rusty orange colour. The smell of lichen gives the tweed its distinctive smell.

by Alison Tyler

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