deer lichen 1: Jamesburg Conservation Areadeer lichen 2: Island Beach SP lichenBatsto lichen

New Jersey Pine Barrens reindeer lichen

In summer, 2009 I'm in New Jersey stalking deer lichen. I've learned there is false reindeer lichen in the Pine Barrens. This is a huge geological formation in the Atlantic Outer Coastal Plain. It isn't good for farming so it was set aside in the "garden state" and inhabited by a few "pineys". Part of it remains natural and accessible, conserved in parks. Here's a location on Google maps of my photos. Click on an image above for photo journals of three different locations: Jamesburg County Park Conservation Area (site 1) and Island Beach State Park (site 2) and Wharton State Forest (site 3).

I'm curious to see how the deer lichens here are like the ones I love near my home in NW Florida. The environments seem similar: sandy soil, pines, the aquifer, the dunes. Many of the plants are in the same family or identical. I have found the deer lichen Cladonia subtenuis grows extensively in both states. For fun see a panorama imagining a NJ lichen performing on stage in Seaside FL to an audience of local lichens.

Note that the first two locations I visited are the northernmost and northeasternmost parts of the Pine Barrens ecology. They not part of the current Pinelands, which is managed by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. Here is a description and map from USGS. For a larger version of the map, see the end of this page.

For a view of dense deer lichen in the NJ Pinelands, see this photo by Michael Hogan. Thanks to Michael Hogan for these directions: "Follow the nature trail at Batsto Village that starts at the worker houses/fence and crosses the Mullica River by foot bridge. There is a lot of lichen in the forest past the foot bridge." On September 1, 2009 I went there; see the slideshow.

This art page says there are also British Soldiers (Cladonia cristatella) in the Pinelands. Note also that the name "false reindeer lichen" commonly used in NJ does not appear in the first edition of the definitive book Lichens of North America, where Cladonia subtenuis is called "Dixie reindeer lichen".

Back to the New Jersey travel page.

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