State LichenLace Lichen
California is the first state to adopt a lichen as a state symbol. Lace lichen is a combination of fungi and algae. Both organisms benefit from each other and have a symbiotic relationship. They are just one of 1,900 lichen species found in California, but they play an important role. They provide food, habitat, and nesting material for animals. They also assist humans, as these lichens are sensitive to air quality and climate change and are being studied for their medicinal antibacterial properties.
Lace lichens hang in clumps from tree bark and branches, grow up to 3 feet long, are flat, yellow-green and shaped like lace. They live from Southern Alaska to Baja, and in California mostly along the coastline where conditions are moist.