We’re approaching mid-January, the time of year when the Following Deer Creek (FDC) Project first came into being (2017). Like the Earth circling around the Sun and the planetary water cycle, we’ve completed a journey.
I set out to tell the story of the Deer Creek watershed from its tectonic and cultural origins to the people and animals who live in it today. Working backward, I posted blog articles as I researched in preparation to compile the film.
In early January of 2021, the film was complete. Like the FDC blog posts, it’s a birds-eye view of the watershed that hints at depths.
I smile when I think back to the initial idea seed. Of course, there is no one story, there are more than can ever be told.
FDC and the Aerial Views film is a decent outline, but it also illustrates how much more remains for investigation and study.
Light: The algal cells that the fungi farm need light to photosynthesize. Lichen species have different light requirements. Some prefer full sun on rocks while others like shady, cooler subclimates. Brightness and coloring are also affected by light. Species adapted to hotter and brighter conditions are generally more colorful.
Nutrients: Lichen nutrients include; oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Lichens use cyanobacteria to “fix” nitrogen from the air which is then used to organic acids and proteins.
Substrate: Any non-moving object the lichen can hold onto – rocks, trees, soil, tombstones, houses, farm equipment, etc.
Types of Lichen
Foliose: Leafy lichens that use tiny rhizines to attach to substrate.
Folios lichen – Plitt’s Xanthoparmelia plitti, Lettuce lichen/Lobaria oregana & Rhizine Photo by Ed Uebel – NOTE: Lichens are not parasitic. They do not hurt trees.
Forage: Hair-like and hanging species that are eaten by animals and humans
Crustose: Lichens grow flat on their substrate surface
Fruticose: looks like a shrub, bush, or coral
Lichens have multiple reproduction methods. If they reproduce sexually (by way of fruiting bodies) they create spores. If they reproduce asexually, a powdery substance – soredia – is released. Both methods use, wind, water, and animals to transport the newbies.
MYTH: Lichen do not harm trees.
Other Lichen Uses & Users
Clothing, wound absorbent, diapers, model train shrubbery, and an ingredient in concrete, perfume, and deodorant. Some lichens are being studied as new sources of antibiotics and medicines.
Camouflage for; lizards, moths, tree frogs and other insects.
Truckee Donner Land Trust (Tahoe/Donner Land Preservation)
To preserve and protect scenic, historic and recreational lands with high natural resource values in the Truckee Donner region
and manage recreational activities on these lands in a sustainable manner.
The Yuba Watershed Institute is a group of citizens who are concerned with the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of
long-term biological diversity within the Yuba River watershed. The Institute also serves as an educational
resource, providing an ongoing series of talks, seminars, publications and walks on all aspects of the watershed.
Deer Creek & Nevada County Art made-to-order on clothing, housewares, or accessories.
$5 from each sale supports the FDC blog & documentary project.
Once complete, proceeds from art sales will be donated to one or more of the nonprofit organizations listed above!
Toyon, in the rose family, carries a name given to it by Native Americans and produces fruit related to apples. Because it ripens and turns bright red around the holidays, its common names are Christmas berry and California Holly.
Toyon’s scientific name, Heteromeles arbutifolia, means “different apple.”
There’s debate surrounding the plant’s association with the naming of Hollywood. [See link in resources.]
A California native, Toyon is an evergreen shrub. It grows from sea level to scrub oak zones up to 4,000 ft. elevation; it’s drought tolerant and accepts a variety of soil types— including clay.
Specially adapted to flourish after fire, Toyon root crowns store carbohydrates allowing the plant to quickly send up new sprouts.
Established shrubs, reaching 8 to 10 feet in height, have lower water requirements than young plants.
Small white flower bunches appear in June and July.
While fruit is developing, berries contain a cyanogenic glucoside, a toxic substance, that protects them from being eaten.
As the fruit ripens, turning red, the cyanogenic glucoside moves from the pulp into the seeds.
Birds and some mammals, such as coyote and bear, eat Toyon berries in the fall.
For humans, the taste of fresh berries is bitter. It’s a good idea to spit out the seeds.
Heating berries before eating removes some of the bitterness.
HISTORIC HUMAN FRUIT CONSUMPTION
Bark and leaf tea for stomach problems and wound infections – Kumeyaay people and other Native Tribes
Leaf infusions – menstruation regulation – Costanoan people
Sun parching – Luiseno people (southern California)
Thirst quencher – Mahuna people
Wine, custard, jelly, and porridge – Spanish and American settlers