British Soldier Lichen
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Bio 203
Cladonia cristatella, more commonly known as the British Soldier Lichen, is a prime example of mutually beneficial symbiosis in nature. They are most commonly found in the north eastern quadrant of the United States as well as the eastern half of Canada. This species was coined the term "British Soldier" because of the red caps present on this species. During the late 1700's people thought these caps resembled the caps of British Soldiers of the day, thus the name British Soldier Lichen.
- The genus Cladonia translates to mountains in Latin and the species cristatella translates to crested.
- Historically, lichens from this genus have been used to produce various types of dyes.
- Certain species of lichen were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes. Interestingly enough, many lichens are showing new promises in modern medicine.
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