Smooth Rock Tripe

In a visual comparison with Plate 865 (Brodo et al. 2001:705) [Lichens of North America, Yale University Press], it appears that my photos may depict a type of lichen known as Smooth Rock Tripe (Umbilicaria mammulata).

 

Smooth rock tripe growing on a boulder

Smooth rock tripe growing on a boulder

 

According to Brodo et al., some interesting aspects of these and related lichens are: 1) they typically occur on siliceous rocks such as granite; 2) they have been used as an emergency or famine food by various Native American peoples; 3) they have apparently been used as a survival food by stranded pilots; and, 4) they can be used to produce a purple dye that fades upon exposure to light unless it is “set with mordants”.

 

Smooth rock tripe with “beige” upper surface and black lower surface.

Smooth rock tripe with “beige” upper surface and black lower surface.

 

Although I have never been a follower of Ewell Gibbons (“It tastes like wild hickory nuts”) and I generally don’t forage on natural foods in the raw, many people, however, apparently are natural food devotees.

 

Cover of smooth rock tripe on boulder habitat

Cover of smooth rock tripe on boulder habitat

 

As a partial explanation for my hesitancy to adopt a “grazing lifestyle”, I was duly impressed by a comment from one of my undergraduate botany professors about the potential health hazards (i.e., death) associated with eating some mushroom fungi.

 

More smooth rock tripe (beige/black and foliose/umbilicate) with other lichens.

More smooth rock tripe (beige/black and foliose/umbilicate) with other lichens.

 

The professor warned that identification problems and the fact that different people might react differently to the same fungi were sufficient reasons to be very careful in that arena.

That was enough for me.

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One Comment

  1. Jimmy Stephenson
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Another reason not to eat fungi from the field along with death as a possible side effect, hallucinogenic highs that rival LSD and marijuana can occur. Being a child of the 60′s I am sure you remember that many sought the perfect natural high that some fungi(mushrooms)offered. Great pictures by-the-way.

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