14 June 2012

Stereocaulon volcani

This lichen is invariably one of the first species to arrive and grow on fresh lava. Species in the genus Stereocaulon have achieved this phenomenal ability to colonize new land throughout the globe by essentially blanketing the planet with minute spores that are carried like dust high in the atmosphere. Most fall ineffectually into the sea or onto substrates not conducive to germination. Rarely, a spore settles onto a patch of bare rock of the right age and texture and with enough moisture and sunlight that it germinates and, if it is lucky enough to find its symbiotic partner, grows.
- David J Flashpohler

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