Primarily “open” bark, but occasionally in shaded areas and on rock surfaces
Earth’s northern hemisphere, including North America, and concentrating in temperate climates
Critically-imperiled in some areas
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Bare-bottomed sunburst is a type of common lichen. Lichens are complex organisms that arise from symbiotic relationships between fungi and a photosynthesizer, like algae. Of the genus Xanthoria, sunburst lichens are some of the most conspicuous and beautiful of lichens. They are typically bright in color, like the yellow-orange Bare-bottomed Sunburst, and distinctively characterized by the “fairy cup” shape of their foliose (leaf-like feature)
Brightly colored lichens like the bare-bottomed sunburst have been used to make dyes in the past. The bare-bottomed sunburst is too small to continue making dyes because so many colonies would be required to produce a small amount of dye.
Sunburst lichens are frequently the first types of lichens that beginning lichenologists are able to identify. The tricky part is taking care to accurately identify which kind of sunburst lichen a specimen is!
iNaturalist, Sunburst Lichens, May 2021, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/54757-Xanthoria
Backyard Nature, Bare-bottomed Sunburst Lichen, May 2021, https://backyardnature.net/n/x/sunburst.htm
iNaturalist, Bare-bottomed Sunburst, May 2021, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/174753-Xanthomendoza-fulva
Image, Jason Hollinger, https://www.flickr.com/photos/7147684@N03/1298155542/, license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/, cropped from original.
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