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Lichens Around Las Vegas
Nonvascular Plants, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Lichen

Lichens are odd, non-vascular, plant-like organisms that grow in many places, including on the surfaces of rocks in the desert. Lichens are not a single species; rather they are a collection of two or more species working together in a symbiotic way to support each other and continue life. Lichens are formed when fungus and algae (usually green alga or cyanobacterium) come together, each producing something that the other needs. The fungus provides support and shade, the algae engages in photosynthesis and produces food that is shared by both, and neither can live alone.

Lichens are capable of drying out and coming "back to life," a trait that serves them well in desert environments.

In lichens, each color generally represents a different species. Desert lichen shapes generally are "crustose" or "foliose." Crustose lichens form crusty growths on rock surfaces. Foliose lichens take on a variety of leaf-like forms and often are found growing on trees.

Lichen
Crustose Lichen
Lichen
Foliose Lichen
Lichens Lichens
Lichens Lichens
Lichens Lichens
Lichen Lichen
Lichens
Various colorful lichens on petroglyph panel
Lichens
A gray form that grows on limestone cobbles
Lichens
Lichens growing on gypsum soil
Lichens
Lichens growing on gypsum soil
Lichen Lichen
Lichens Lichen
Lichen Lichen
Lichen Lichen
Lichen Lichen

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170922

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