Weber's Sunburst, Xanthomendoza weberi
Teloschistaceae or Orange Lichen Family

Lichen on fence
Small to very small lichen, forming a definite rosette. Color yellow orange to deep orange. Lichen body ("thallus") of long, narrow, branching lobes which overlap each other. The tips of the lobes are slightly expanded and break down to form a powder (of particles called "soredia") that can blow away and start new lichens. This is very hard to see, however, without a microscope (below right) or a very good handlens. Older specimens also form bowl-shaped apothecia, the same color as the thallus, which produce spores.

A widespread lichen over much of North America. Not fussy about where it grows, being at home on bark (below middle), rock (below left) and bare wood (left).

Look for bright orange blots on fence posts, tree bark or rock. Good eyes or a hand lens will show the rosette of overlapping lobes that look like a mass of squirming snakes frozen in action. Lemon lichen (Candelaria concolor) is more yellow, and when examined shows only tiny flakes, not overlapping snakes. Sulphur firedot (Caloplaca flavovirescens) is also orange, but close up shows only bowl- to button-shaped apothecia on a background of dirty yellow flecks.

Lichen on rock Lichen on bark

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