Cladina spp. Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
In parts of Florida you will see grey-green, cloud-like clusters of deer moss on the ground. Deer moss is a very slow growing lichen and large mats may take decades to develop. Fire kills this lichen, so if you see large carpets of Cladina, it is an indication that the area has not been burned for a long time.
Like all lichens, deer moss has no roots and gets all its moisture from the air – when the weather is dry it is brittle and crunchy, after rain it can be as soft as a cotton ball.
Architects and model railway enthusiasts often use deer moss to make realistic looking miniature trees and shrubs.
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