Fruticose lichens exhibit a three-dimensional structure. For example, they may be bushy, spindly, stringy, branching, swag-like or cup-shaped, but their main stems are nearly always round in cross-section.
The Cladonias are a highly diverse genus, and extremely difficult to differentiate without chemical testing or microscopic examination. A few examples are shown here.
Sphaerophorus ("tree coral") can be found on the bark of many evergreens. Its apothecia are spherical knobs at the tips of its branches.
Stereocaulon ("foam" or "Easter lichen") is easily recognizable by its abundant squamules (scales). It is frequently found growing among mosses.
Pilophorus acicularis ("devil's matchstick") and Pilophorus clavatus ("tapered matchstick") are true pioneers, forming colonies on freshly broken rock.
Alectoria sarmentosa ("witches' hair") is common in the park's lower forests. It is often mistaken for Spanish moss (a tropical epiphyte).
Bryoria fremontii ("horse-hair lichen") is wiry and stiff, and was eaten by the indigenous people of the area. It is one of few edible lichens.
The Usneas ("beard lichens") are characterized by having a stretchy "spinal cord" running centrally through their branches. There are several different species in the park.
Last updated: January 31, 2020