A bed of "deer moss" lichen near the top of the Webster Cliff trail.

Family Cladoniacae, probably genus Cladina.

These lichens are indeed eaten by deer (and sometimes by humans) in winter, when few other foods are available. The texture isn't as bad as it looks, but the taste is bitter. (Boiling it first greatly reduces the bitterness. Also, be sure to stick to younger specimens that aren't overgrown with other types of lichen that may not be palatable.)

September 2006

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