Surprise in the box

We flipped open the white utility box at the campsite to charge our electronic devices and found a surprise inside.  Up in the corner was a little dot of green. Joe thought it was a refrigerator magnet left behind by a previous camper.  He called Beth over to look.  When he opened the box for her, she responded, “Egad!”  What was it?  We got a closer look.  The little green button was about 1” across: a squirrel treefrog.  The frog is nocturnal and was as surprised to be awakened in its hiding spot by us as we were to find him in our electric hook up.


The day after we saw the treefrog at Grayton Beach State Park, we spotted little grey-green fluffy balls on the ground along the perimeter of the woods.  Except for the color, they looked a lot like little snowballs.  We asked the park ranger what these are.  Answer:  Deer moss.  It’s found in Florida and is actually lichen.

The deer moss is the light grey round plants under the other foliage.

The deer moss is the light grey round plants under the other foliage.

The ranger said that, if we looked closely around the deer moss, we would find “British moss”, darker green with very tiny red flowers.  We looked and did find both types of moss, and they were next to each other.  When we tried to google “British moss” we could find nothing.  The search is on.  What is it?

DSC02267 - Version 2

It seems that new things can be found all around us, if only we notice them.  We can have fun by choosing to notice one, find out about it, and then have it become a part of our known world.  The green squirrel tree frog, deer moss, and “British” moss are now a part of our known world.  Isn’t it odd how learning the names of things expands our enjoyment of our world?

March 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Trip across the US - 2013 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Surprise in the box

  1. Barbara says:

    I enjoyed today’s blog entry on mosses; the “deer moss,” in particular, would be lovely in a terrarium. For a change, I have something to add from my book on moss gardening and lichens (Moss Gardening, by George Schenk, 1997). I’ll quote a bit:
    “…the cladonias include the many species of goblet lichens…, of British soldiers,…and of reindeer moss….Technically, there is only one, true reindeer moss species, C. rangiferina (Plate 72), but there are a number of others closely alike and deserving of the name. Reindeer will certainly eat them if they find them.
    Cladonia evansii is one of the showiest of the world’s filigree lichens, that is, of lichens of the reindeer moss type. These are usually associated with northerly regions, yet, C. evansii is a feature of pine woods in parts of the American South, notably in the vicinity of Cocoa, Florida. In its southern stations this species multiplies into colonies containing thousands of individuals, even filling entire woods at ankle height. The plants are of a whitishness, size, and mushroom shape that suggest large cotton bolls or small souffles. Their web-work structure contains even less substance than that of a luffa sponge, allowing light to stream through the plants. Cladonia evansii in the wild is a sight worth journeying to see….
    Cladonia floerkeana of Europe, C. cristatella of North America, and the many allied species within this lichen genus, found in both the northern and southern hemisperes, are British soldiers, all. So named for their red caps (fruiting bodies) of pinhead size atop battalions of greenish gray stalks 1/2–2 inches (13-50 mm) tall. Their bright carmine headgear earns these lichens their place as perhaps the most popular of all miniature primitives….”
    I also did a bit more googling and found that Cladina is a synonym for Cladonia.
    So…the “deer moss” are really Cladonia (probably evansii), and more widely known as reindeer (sometimes caribou) moss. And the “British moss” are really British soldiers and also cladonia.
    There’s lots to learn from the google on these lichens; perhaps you can figure out which British soldiers you saw (I didn’t go that far).
    Cheers, Barbara

  2. Gretchen Hall says:

    Fun to follow from another warm place: Buenos Aires. No tree frogs or moss but two active two-legged boys!! love, Gretchen

  3. I enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing.
    Chris Mobley

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