You’ve probably walked right over this lichen a million times and perhaps even thought it was a fungus. To all appearances, Dibaeis baeomyces appears to be colonies of tiny, pink mushrooms, but in fact, those aren’t mushrooms – they are the fruiting bodies, or apothecia, of a lichen (fungus + alga or cyanobacterium) known as “Pink Earth.” If you look closely at these 1/8” bubblegum-colored structures, you’ll see that they are at the apex of tiny stalks that grow out of a gray crusty matter, which is actually the body, or thallus, of the lichen. Look for Dibaeis baeomyces growing in disturbed areas such as roadsides.
Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.