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Methuselah's beard lichen

Dolichousnea longissima


Dolichousnea longissima (formerly Usnea longissima - changed in 2004) is a pale grayish green fruticose lichen that is characterized by a long central chord with short even branching along the sides. Dolichousnea longissima is considered the longest lichen in the world and is currently on threatened status. Reasons for its rarity are air pollution and loss of habitat. This fragmented specimen was 2 ft (61 cm) long.


Spotted on the ground under a stand of tall spruce, fir and cedars. Prefers tall stands of coniferous trees, especially spruce along the Pacific coast.


Another factor in the species decline is that it is thought to be dispersal limited. In other words it rarely produce soredia, almost never produces apothecia and the fragments that are blown from trees (like this one) do not travel far from their source location.

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Brian38 a year ago

Thanks Daniele for finding that case study report. There is a lot of interesting info. in it. I was glad they mentioned many of the look-alike lichens. Most of the "Beard" lichens in general are difficult to identify down to the species.

DanielePralong a year ago

Brian, while doing some more reading about this lichen I came across the paper below using this lichen as a case study for misidentification. You may find it interesting:

Brian38 a year ago

Thank you Ashley for being nominated and thanks Maria, Leuba and Mark for commenting.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

Weird beard.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a year ago

Lichens are amazing and this one sounds special. Glad you got to see it and share it with us. Thanks Brian.

Maria dB
Maria dB a year ago

Interesting spotting and information!

AshleyT a year ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Brian38 a year ago

Thanks for commenting Sukanya!

SukanyaDatta a year ago

Such an interesting lichen. Thanks.

Brian38 a year ago

Thank you so much for commenting Daniele! I can't wait for spring to get here - The Hoh Rain Forest is high on my list for exploring as is the whole Olympic Peninsula.

DanielePralong a year ago

Another fascinating and interesting lichen Brian! The Puget Sound is so rich and diverse. One of the most memorable walk I ever took was the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula... a temperate moss, lichen and epiphytes paradise.

Spotted by

Washington, USA

Lat: 47.13, Long: -122.87

Spotted on Nov 11, 2018
Submitted on Jan 5, 2019

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