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We actually have a number of lichens that fit this term so we are not commiting a specific botanical name. Even in common parlance they can be known as beard lichen, old man’s beard or string of sausages lichen. 

Lichens, or lichenised fungi, are organisms formed by the symbiosis of a fungus species and one or more other organism, usually an alga. [Woodland Trust]. They are also known as fruticose lichens, which grow like mini shrubs or tassels anchored onto the bark of tree trunks and branches. They are all pale grey-green, and some produce striking disc-like fruit bodies.

They can easily be confused with horsehair lichens which as their name suggests tend to be straggly like hair. 

Beard lichens tend to be found in small clumbs on dead branches. 

This is one of many beard lichen clumps found in Fishers Wood in April. It is happily growing alongside moss on a dead branch, but new growth of hawthorn is squeezing past it.

WOODLAND TRUST : https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/fungi-and-lichens/beard-lichens/

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