We continue to explore the natural beauty of southwest Florida, this time with a visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary about 30 miles east of Naples. Friend and photographer Lane Wilkinson and I spent about four hours observing tropical plants, enormous cedars, a variety of birds and alligators and the symbiotic relationships between the many forms of life. One unique plant form that captured our attention was the white and rosy lichen growing on the trees and fences within the swamp. I have observed white and green lichen before in woodsy environments from Florida north to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but I had never seen the rosy shade.
Accomplished photographer and active conservationist Connie Bransilver helped us to understand and appreciate what we saw. Lane introduced me to Connie, who we happened to meet that day at Corkscrew, and I emailed Connie later about the lichen. Connie explained to me that the rose and white lichen shown here in my photos, Baton Rouge lichen, is plentiful and beautiful in the Corkscrew ecosystem but rare elsewhere. I knew we had encountered something special! As Lane said, “We are likin’ the lichen!” First, see it on the fence and the tree, and then enjoy the detail in the close-ups. I can’t wait to share these with my favorite micro-biologist, Diane Krill!