Carefully remove the lichen or use scissors to cut it from the branches and don’t break them. I stand within inches of the hanging moss and closely examine the strands. Cycle Alaska, Juneau Picture: "Old Mans Beard" that only grows in areas with less than 1% polution - Check out Tripadvisor members' 40,802 candid photos and videos of Cycle Alaska As I make my way through the small forest, past the bare blueberry bushes, with the dirt road at eye-level, it’s like I’m in an undersea world. In different parts of the world, hanging lichens are known by other names: seaweed of the mountain, spirit of the north wind, air grass, and excrement of air. The taxonomic categorization of many members of this genus remains uncertain. “The air is really clean up here.”, My dad and I drive up a dirt hill, ocean to the right and muskeg to the left. I make my way deep into the basin and the trees get denser. The active ingredients in these two specific hanging lichens are commonly used in commercial products and traditional medicines and as treatments for fever and pain, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, kidney and bladder infections, for coughs and sore throats, skin lesions and cuts, bug bites, athletes foot and even sunscreen, toothpaste, deodorant, used in dyes, and more. Hanging lichens are used as environmental indicators or bio-indicators because they’re extremely sensitive to Sulphur dioxide pollution. photos by Vivian Faith Prescott | For the Capital City Weekly This moss in the lungs-of-the-island is not nearly that long. Hanging from their branches is old man’s beard, a lichen with antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. As a fruticose lichen, Usnea appears as a shrub-like growth on host trees. [8] It is now noted as including more than 600 species and being one of the largest genera within the Parmeliaceae. "Which Specialized Metabolites Does the Native Subantarctic Gastropod, "Two Basidiomycete Fungi in the Cortex of Wolf Lichens", "Optimization of Culture Conditions for Lichen,, "PLANTS profile for Usnea (beard lichen)",, Short description is different from Wikidata, All Wikipedia articles needing clarification, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from October 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 October 2020, at 16:07. [10], Like other lichens, Usnea often grows on sick or dying trees due to the pre-existing loss of canopy leaves, allowing for greater photosynthesis by the lichen's algae; this leads some gardeners to mistakenly blame the lichen for the tree's leaf loss and illness.[11]. I think it’s a good goal, though. But, interestingly, Angel Hair lichen, despite containing similar medicinal qualities, the usnic acid, is not categorized in the Usnea family. By MARK THIESSEN Associated Press ANCHORAGE —…, Feds reject petition to delist Arctic ringed seals as threatened, Air travel down by more than half, airport officials say, Want to buy Alaskan? If I had all the time in the world, I’d be learning all Southeast Alaska’s lichens and mosses. The lichen I pull from the branch is clumpy and has no long chain at its center. While they look similar, these are two types of hanging moss. Usnea is a genus of mostly pale grayish-green fruticose lichens that grow like leafless mini-shrubs or tassels anchored on bark or twigs. Usnea is a genus of mostly pale grayish-green fruticose lichens that grow like leafless mini-shrubs or tassels anchored on bark or twigs. OTHER NAME(S): Acide Usnique, Barba de Capuchino, Barbe de Jupiter, Barbe de Saint Antoine, Beard Moss, Mousse d'Arbre, Musgo de los Arboles, Old Man's Beard… The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather. 5 Comments. [15] The National Toxicology Program is currently evaluating the issue. The hanging lichen finds a good place to grow in the arms of the elder tree and, in turn, the elder tree cleans the air. Alternative method: Add one pint of clean water to a small pot and two handfuls of Usnea lichen and simmer for thirty. Using a clean two quart pot, pour one pint of boiling water over about two handfuls or two cups of Usnea lichen (Old Man’s Beard Moss). Colonizers associated the natural world with a demonic or savage world. Unlike other similar-looking fruticose lichens, species in this genus have an elastic chord or axis running through the middle of the thallus that can be revealed by gently pulling a filament apart from either end. [12] Under bad conditions[vague] they may grow no larger than a few millimetres, if they survive at all. Members of the genus are commonly called old man's beard, or beard lichen. On the left is Angel Hair, and on the right is Usnea, or Old Man’s Beard. Turns out, hanging lichens are hard to tell apart, especially from a distance. Traditional use is to pour ¼ cup of the “broth” into a cup and add more hot water and honey to flavor. The genus is in the family Parmeliaceae. There’re 15 species of Usnea in Alaska and 500 species of lichens and moss, so I’ve got some learning to do. [4] It reproduces via vegetative means through fragmentation, asexual means through soredia, or sexual means through ascogonium and spermatogonium. [1]:148 A distinguishing test is that the branches of Usnea are somewhat elastic, but the branches of Alectoria snap cleanly off.[1]:148. All these years, I thought there was one type of hanging lichen around here, which I called moss. (Vivian Faith Prescott | For the Capital City Weekly). My dad parks the truck and we get out. It can sometimes be used as a bioindicator, because it tends to only grow in those regions where the air is clean,[13] and of high quality. minutes on very low. [5] The growth rate of lichens in nature is slow, but the growth rate has been sped up in laboratory conditions where Usnea is being cultured. The snow goose’s beak touches the Stikine river, and its wings are outstretched. Old Man’s Beard is also called Usnea, and in Tlingit called S’éixwani, and can grow up to 20 feet long. Wrangell Island is shaped like a snow goose flying to the Stikine River flats. I put some lichen in the red cedar basket I’m carrying. As I walk through the forest, I’m mindful of my daughter’s harvesting rules: Harvest windblown lichen from the ground or from the broken branches that’ve fallen from the tree. These are some tasty ways to use those not-actually cranberries this season. “This place is the lungs-of-the-island,” my dad says. Once prolific throughout the Northern Pacific Northwest north from Alaska down south to California, Old Man's Beard (Usnea longissima) has become more rare is recent years. This moss in the lungs-of-the-island is not nearly that long. I got a chance to tag along with Pat Frank (Deg Hit’an Athabascan) from Holy Cross and Anchorage as he harvested Old Man’s Beard for the first time. It grows all over the world. Forming between the main road and the pull-through is a bowl that dips down filled with a small forest of trees and berry bushes. I breathe in deeply and Oscar sniffs the bushes. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It’s happening in several states at once. In Usnea, the fungus belongs to the division Ascomycota, while the alga is a member of the division Chlorophyta. [16], Usnea species have been used to create orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple dyes for textiles. Usnea, pronounced ooze-nee-ah and better known as old man’s beard, is the long, lacy, greenish lichen that grows from tree trunks and branches in forests across New Hampshire and Vermont. "The usnic acid in Usnea is effective against gram positive bacteria such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, making Usnea a valuable addition to herbal formulas for sore throats and skin infections. My daughter Vivian Mork Yéilk’, an ethnobiologist, says when she’s harvesting a certain type of moss or lichen she finds a sample and puts it in her pocket so she has something to compare. Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol. [17][18], Usnea barbata has been used in cosmetic production for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties as a preservative and deodorant.[19]. Usnea looks very similar to the plant Spanish moss, so much so that the latter's Latin name is derived from it (Tillandsia usneoides, the 'Usnea-like Tillandsia'). (*If you’re pregnant or taking prescription medicines always consult your doctor before trying any traditional medicines or teas because Old Man’s Beard and Angel Hair contain usnic acid). Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual, Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings, Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday, ‘It’s a good cause’: Hundreds of meals distributed on Thanksgiving, Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward, Highbush holidays: Recipes using the berries, Tulsequah Chief Mine moves closer to clean up, EXPLAINER: What’s going on with audits in Alaska and elsewhere, Trump administration denies permit for divisive Pebble Mine.