Nature Diary

Don’t miss the lichen for the trees

Cladonia, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. © Bronwen Scott.

There are no empty surfaces in the rainforest. Fallen timber sprouts fungi, leaves are pimpled with galls made by tiny wasps, and lichen mottles living bark. Almost every tree trunk is a collage of white and grey and the palest green. These lichen look as if they have been painted on: they follow the contours of every lump and bump, fissure and…