Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

February 16, 2016: Botany Photo of the Day will return this spring with a new format similar to the new UBC Botanical Garden web site. In the meantime, please enjoy the restored content!

Xanthoria elegans

Xanthoria elegans
Xanthoria elegans

Elegant sunburst lichen seems to be distributed throughout every province and territory in Canada (the national lichen?), most of the western United States, and parts of the northeastern US and southern Appalachians. According to “Lichens of North America” (ISBN: 0300082495) by Brodo, Sharnoff and Sharnoff, it prefers open rocks rich in nutrients. A bit of perspective is required – an open rock rich in nutrients to a lichen is one that is often “fertilized” with the excreta of birds or mammals. The authors also write that Inuit hunters could use concentrated groupings of the lichen to locate the burrows of hoary marmots. You can read more about this lichen from the authors here, on the site that ties in with the book.

Botany resource link: Two articles today, both on the same subject and written by Dr. David Hershey on – Avoid Misconceptions When Teaching about Plants and More Misconceptions to Avoid When Teaching about Plants. I read both with an eye to seeing if I'd propagated any misconceptions, and I think I've avoided any of these pitfalls so far.


i'm receiving two copies of the daily photo. i enjoy both, but you might better send the extra to someone else. thanx. stan

Stanley, I thought I had that problem fixed the other day, but apparently not. I'll contact the author of the email notification part of the software, but until I get some time to apply any patch he might make, the entries that I do in advance and allow the web server to publish (instead of me writing after midnight and pressing the publish button) will likely send out duplicate email notifications. The alternative is that I have to wait until after midnight for every single entry to press the publish button, and I'd like a few days in a row where I don't have to do that.

Stanley (and others who use email notification): you can follow the discussion re: the software issue here - Mt-Notifier - Double Emails For Scheduled Posts.

There is much to like about lichens and this photograph is simply dazzling.

I like this site and check it daily. I'm grateful for the links you provide too and have shared the URL of BPOD and often links with others. I was very glad to find today's papers on common misconceptions in plant biology. I will make much use of these.

I'm a K-12 science educator and also the executive director of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association.

Best wishes and again thanks for adding to my appreciation of the world.

This website is wonderful. I come here every day both to look at the beautiful images and to read the interesting text (and often to follow the fascinating links).

Thank you so much.

talk about a mandala! beautiful!

Thank you all for the kind compliments.

Hi Daniel,
In more misconceptions under Hydrangea it states that Hydrangea grown in acidic soils produce pink flowers as there is less aluminum in acidic soils. I may have it wrong but I think he meant to say blue not pink and the aluminum is greater in acidic soils

Judy, I find his wording in that part of his article a bit strange - perhaps it hinges on the notion that the soils are high in organic matter as well? Not sure.

I am faily new to taking pictures of lichens, liverworts and mosses etc. and I was wondering can you direct me to sites with photos of the various items.
Many thanks,
P.S. I am from the UK.

Eddie, have a look through the collection of BPotD Bookmarks.

Yikes. Excreta and droppings and scat you say?
I am in the habit of eating twigs buds berries and yes lichen too when I am wandering around the bush. Not flowers though,
them I just enjoy visually or else to smell.
Seriously the lichens are good survival food, quite palatable and a hell of a lot less salty than the to me inedible dulse on the East coast.

The misconception guy is probably wrong about everything, but I would grant him the later botanical grumblings as I simply dont know.
However he is dead wrong about photosynthesis.
It is quite clear that he doesnt understand what an equation is and even less what a chemical equation does.
It is simply a general concept of a process with substrates which interact and recombine giving different products or compounds while preserving the general concept of conservation of matter with precise proportions and whole number ratios of the reactants. To say in symbolic form that carbon dioxide plus water produce give sugar plus oxygen is perfectly adequate and correct.
That is what happens in plants reduced to its essence. Nothing about this statement implies that this process is instantaneous or simple, indeed there are hundreds of steps processes reactions syntheses to get from water and coal to sugar. Or in animals the reverse. By the by he left out completely the most important sine qua non which is energy in the form of a photon.
And in animals in the reverse process the ultimate end product is not CO2 and water but ATP which is an energy transferring molecule which then runs the organism. Yet it is still correct if incomplete to say sugar plus oxygen ie burning it gives O2 and H2O in precise ratios and releases or stores energy. Actually the name photo synthesis does mean photon light energy reaction to make sugars.
So the famous equation is a fully adequate summary of a complex process in a simple equation namely equal numbers of O C and H molecules or atoms on each side of the equation satisfying both mathematical and chemical laws.

lichen mandala!lindolindo!!!

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