Reindeer lichen

Reindeer lichen flourishes where other plants cannot, such as extremely dry, mature dunes, former sand drifts, and dry heath. It is a shrub-like lichen.

When see up close, it resembles a reindeer's antlers. There are several species that share commonalities. The grey or brown 'antlers' consists of hollow tubes with pointed tops. The walls of these tubes are made of tough, hard fungi. The tubes themselves house cyanobacteria. Near the Arctic Circle, reindeer moss is the only food reindeer and other northern herbivores have at their disposal. And there is plenty of it. The entire economy of the Sami people, traditionally known as Lapps, depends on this lichen for survival. Reindeer moss is a common sight on our former sand drifts. It can also be seen on either side of the Wetweg.