365-296 IHR Gravetone Inscription, St Mary The Virgin Church, Wansford, Peterborough UK
A beautiful lichen patterned old gravestone in the country church at Wansford. It is almost a natural work of art.
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic association of a fungus (the mycobiont) with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont or phycobiont), usually either a green alga (commonly Trebouxia) or cyanobacterium (commonly Nostoc). Lichens are very different from descrite fungus etc, particularly in that they can survive quite extreme environments.
They can be used to analyse ozone depletion and metal contamination and may have more uses in the future. Purfumes and cosmetics have used them as have traditional medical remedies.
Tonight just before uploading this image I dug out my old penguin paperback copy of 'The Trouble With lichen' by the author John Wyndham, which I read some yongs ago, The plot concerns a young woman biochemist who discovers that a chemical extracted from an unusual strain of lichen (hence the title) can be used to retard the ageing process, enabling people to live to around 200–300 years. Wyndham speculates how society would deal with this prospect. Powerful women in England are the customers of this miracle product and strands of female emancipation run through the novel.
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