As a result of the Corvid-19 lockdown I am getting to know my home patch. I’ve been cycling to the glen immediately to the south, known as Clachaig.
I remembered a small hazel wood there, tucked a couple of miles inland beside the burn, on a steep slope.
I found it: a magical mini-rainforest, with liverworts crowding exuberantly on the trunks and lichens and mosses weaving into one another.
The photograph is actually of a young hazel stool growing right by the burn beside a fence separating from a pasture. This means that it faces south and receives plenty of light.
Covering the surface are various “first bark colonisers”, which actually grow under the tree’s skin. There are a number of species present in the photograph, distinguishable from each other from their different colours and fruiting bodies.
The white lichen containing numerous black scribbles is actually growing on the surface. It is the common Graphis scripta, so-called because it looks like writing! On it is growing a reddish plant, a liverwort, which only grows near the sea in oceanic conditions: Frullania teneriffae, or sea scalewort. Through a hand lens it does, indeed seem to consist of scales packed tightly together.
Nearby I found a rarer “script” lichen: Graphina anguina, this time growing on an old alder. The “writing” here is fainter. It was great to see the two different species near each other: a useful aid to identification.