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Fairy Barf Lichen, Hoh Rainforest

Close up of a log covered in light green thallus coating with pink apothecia spots

Experience Olympic Guide Carolyn toured with two mycologists in the summer of 2023 who found both The Prince (Agaricus augustus) and a huge bolete at Lake Crescent. These brilliant naturalists had an eye for fungi and lichen.  Lichen is a symbiotic organism that includes fungi but also has photosynthetic capabilities from its algal and/or cyanobacteria component. iNaturalist uses the common name 'Candy Lichen' instead of 'Fairy Barf' to describe the lichen Icmadophila ericetorum, and there are a total of 76 observations of this species in Clallam County as of January 2024. This lichen species tends to be found in older forests because they grow on rotting wood and typically forest plantations remove all the dead wood before planting a new tree crop. Over the years of guiding, Carolyn has come to realize that it's not just the age of the forest that creates great habitat for lichen, moss, and fungi but also the age of the standing dead wood and nurse logs. If only all lichen and fungi species were as fun to say as, "Fairy Barf!"