Lichen: Ochrolechia or Pertusaria - Obsession nr. 3
I am not sure if it's an Ochrolechia or a Pertusaria. It is probably either lactea or corallina. The former is a creamy or gray colour and has a pimply surface and can grow to about 15 cm, the latter is very white and without the bumps and gets even bigger, to 20 cm. I'm not the only one who is confused, P. lactea is sometimes also called Ochrolechia lactea, so if biologists are confused...
But anyway I'm pretty sure that both O. (or P.) lactea and O. (or P.) corallina both grow on the rocks because there definitely are lichens that are more white and others that are more gray or cream. I collected tiny amounts of the cream or gray ones and still have the white ones to explore. Oh, there is so much to do and so little time! But, on the bright side, I have something to look forward to.
After I had used the lichen to dye in water I put the same lichen into an ammonia solution and it turned a kind of red colour with a hint of brown to it. I shook the jar every day faithfully for over 3 months, sometimes thinking it was on the verge of turning purple, but I gave up in the end and dyed with it.
It is a lovely earthy pink. I also dyed another skein in the exhaust bath, which gave a lighter shade. I was very happy with that and expected great things from it in a soap. But of course you never get what you expect in this natural colour business.
It is so amazing to me that it is possible to get two such different colours from the same material. How can one not be fascinated by these unpredictable things?