Lichens are a nature’s wonder. These are one of the oldest living things. Lichens are composite organisms that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. These are dependent on pure air for their survival and whenever any pollutants are present, these tend to absorb them and as a consequence die down.

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Lichens growing on apple trees near the cottages

Lichens are the true indicators of air quality. They are able to survive where the air is pure and pollution free. Thankfully the area around our cottages has this kind of pure air. We were very happy to see them growing on our apple trees. These give us assurance that by spending some time in our cottages here, we are helping our lungs breathe in a new life.

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Lichens which a child fondly referred to as tree popcorns once

Lichens have various forms and colors. Botanists have various names for these forms but for us these are just brush like lichens, flat lichens, lichens that look like popcorn and even lichens that look like miniature ferns. In this region, the lichens that we have found are predominantly light bluish-green in color. There are some reddish brown lichens too that grow on some old rocks.

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Lichens with a brush like form

When we interacted with villagers in the region, we were told that these lichens are bad for apple trees. However on further research and interaction with experts, we now realize that these grow only on the bark and process their own food. The apple trees are well protected under their bark. We do hope that as time passes by, these indicators of air quality will always remain in our orchard and reassure us of the pure air we are able to enjoy.

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Different colored lichens on an old tree

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