Genus: Stereocaulon

These lichens are commonly seen on rocks or on ground, especially in damp areas. They look like a small light grey bushy growth, much branched, and sometimes up to 10-15 cm tall.

Stereocaulon colensoi

The black things are known as apothecia, which are a fruiting body of the fungi part of the lichen. It produces spores.

Stereocaulon corticulatum

One of the more common Stereocaulon species. Note the small brown apothecia.

A close up of a Stereocaulon species showing cephalodia (the grey "brain-like" structures).

Cephalodia contain blue-green algae.