If you’re like me, you look at this photograph, note the yellowish-green colouration of the rock and then ask, “What lichen causes that?”. If you’re also like me, you’ve spent hours trying to figure out what lichen it might be, and not knowing has stopped you from posting a photograph of the Chiricahua National Monument until today. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m sharing this photograph from late March anyway. After dozens of false leads on the lichen identification, I’m pursuing a laborious path: the process of elimination, using this listing of Lichens of the Chiricahua National Monument. Considering it’s one of the few National Parks and Monuments for which the travel literature actually mentions lichens, you’d think it would be easy to find the scientific name. No such luck.
The Chiricahua National Monument lies at the intersection of four large-scale plant communities: the Chihuahuan desert, the Sonoran desert, the southern Rocky Mountains and the northern Sierra Madre. Like many other confluences of landforms, biodiversity is high. Read about the animals and plants of the Chiricahuas from the US National Park Service site or see a series of photographs of plants from the different zones here: Sky Islands and Montane Communities. The monument’s geology makes the area even more stunning to a naturalist.