deer lichen leafydeer lichen combodeer lichen sprawl

New Jersey False Reindeer Lichen 1

Jamesburg County Conservation Area

In July, 2009 I'm in New Jersey stalking deer lichen. I've learned there is false reindeer lichen in the Pine Barrens. I went to the location closest to me at Jamesburg County Park Conservation area on Helmetta Blvd. Great feel of ancient forest; truly a magical precious place.

I cherished these visits. There are all generations of pines and oaks dominated by towering craggy pitch pines. Sparse enough to be light and airy, the land contours bumpy with lots of ups and downs, meaning varying heights of 4-10 feet in ranges of 20-30 feet. The floor carpeted with soft layers of pine needles. Few bugs if any. Softer pillows of outrageous green mosses of various sorts. There were large patches of blueberries. A few ripe. I've never been in a forest setting where I have felt as comfortable. We sat down without blankets. The air and feeling there is uplifting and healthy.

Here are locations on Google maps of my photos. Click on an image above to see a medium size version or see the large ones: leaves, both, or stems.

On July 10 I found the lichen on the right. On July12 I found the others. The center photo shows divergence: the fluffy fine leafy look on the left and the sprawling stems on the right. Sources say that false reindeer lichen is the former Cladina subtenuis, now called Cladonia subtenuis, that is one of the most prevalent plants in the Pinelands. My question is whether the plants I found are variations of that or separate species. The sprawling stems somewhat resemble British Soldiers (Cladonia cristatella), a plant that sources list for the Pine Barrens. But there are no upright soldiers with red caps. Based on my experience in NW Florida, these look like some sort of deer lichens (or plants that grow mixed with deer lichens (deer moss) to me.

Note that this location is the northernmost part of the Pine Barrens ecology.

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© 2009 Caroling. All rights reserved. Page created: 2009-07-16. Last modified: 2015-04-24