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Small Wonders. April 29, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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This time of year, mosses and lichens pitch their particular brand of woo by flaunting their engorged reproductive structures amidst the decaying detritus of Last Year’s Models.

Here are a few examples of what you might see if you were as low to the ground as I am (well, ok, I got down on my belly to see these intricate tableaus so you wouldn’t have to!)

Spore-bearing structures swell on a common moss:

(I called the photo “moss flowers,” but in fact mosses and lichen far predate the evolution of true flowers.)

Many types of small evergreen plants co-mingle in the moist forests of the Berkshires:

The new grow through the old, presenting a range of textures and colors:

Some spore structures are club-like while others resemble the flagellae of, um, much “higher orders” of life:

These whip-like structures are calyptrae,  and are spore bearing.

…and still others present as fleshy pink protuberances on a sea of baby-blue scales:

And to think that all of these amorous apparitions disappear at the straightening of a spine!

The moral:  Tread lightly on Mother Nature; Get Down and Go Slow – or you might never know what world of beauty just dissolved beneath your feet!