• Bield at Blackruthven

I find lichens fascinating…


There’s an abundance of lichens all over the Bield woodlands and gardens. They have so many colours (spectrum of yellows to amber to greens), shapes (triangular, circular, linear, ovals) and textures (soft, hard, crinkly, dry and the list can be continued). They colonise trees, bark, rock. Did you know there are more than 15,000 different species of lichens? And lichens came into existence 400 million years ago? Often mistaken for disease but in fact they don’t harm the plants on which they grow. Growth is actually a sign that the air is very clean but it may also tell us that where it proliferates there is a lack of vigour. So, attention may be needed.


A lichen is composed of a fungus and algae living together. The fungus provides the structure to hold the algae and the algae grows food for the fungus. You can’t have one without the other. Collaboration is essential.

Spending time on any aspect of nature, opens us up to the wonderful creativity of the Creator and fills us with gratitude of wonder for what we have been given in creation. Focusing in on what is lowly and easily overseen, like lichen, gives me an opportunity to be surprised by God.

Next time you are wandering (and wondering!) around at the Bield or in nature elsewhere, chose to take time with something like lichen. Ask yourself what you see, and how God may be speaking to you through it. Like the quote at the beginning, in a tiny growth of lichen eternity can be revealed.


Marianne