I don’t know what inspired me to write about mosses and lichens, other than being influenced by the Muse, of course, and being thourouly captivated once I lent my eye to discovering these fascinating and enchanted worlds through my camera lens. I was drawn in and hooked!
I will start with this beauty, Silky Forklet-moss – Dicranella heteromalla, simply because it was the one that inspired this little journey. I will finish my exploration with a more general moss and lichen study in magic and medicine.
So. To begin. Silky Forklet-moss – Dicranella heteromalla.
Not much to write about this moss, that I can find so far anyway. No particular medicinal, folklore or magical uses attached to it. I am very open to bring corrected on that though! Also, that depends on your own ingenuity, inspiration, applications and “contact” as to possible magical uses.
It likes shady banks, woodland, particularly fond of tree stumps, old upturned tree roots. It favours acid conditions.
Next up, a lichen, Cladonia chlorohaea – Cladonia chlorophaea.
Also known as cup lichen or pixie cup lichen. It is a soil lichen, likes shady mossy banks and road verges.
Pixie cups and other Cladonia species contain didymic acid which was once collected from the lichen and used in folk-medicine to treat tuberculosis. It is used as an expectorant, has been used to treat whooping cough. It can be mixed with honey. In Brazil, it is rubbed down with sugar and water and applied in the trust if infants. (Source Mrs Grieves, A Modern Herbal) It can be eaten.
Moving on to Usnea subfloridana – Usnea subfloridana
This lichen likes to set up camp on tree branches, especially the smaller branches. It us a fruticose lichen, it has an elastic chord or axis running through the middle of the thallus. I like the symbolism there. It likes clean, unpolluted air.
Usnic acid in Usnea is reported to be effective against gram positive bacteria such as streptococcus and staphylococcus making it a valuable addition in a herbal formula for sore throats and skin infections, can be useful against pnumonea. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti- protozoan. Is is “drying” and anti-flammitory. (Wikipedea)
Edible, high in vitamin C. A useful ally!
I hope you have enjoyed this first installment, see you in part ll.