Barba de Viejo

May 28th, 2009 Posted in flora

Written by Shanie

They look like little Santa Claus beards dispersed through the trees.

Their soft texture adds a 3-D quality to the Andean forests.

And they are actually a combination of mushroom and algae; the two working together two create a hormonious relationship between the themselves and the trees.


Barba de Viejo, or otherwise known as Usnea barbata, is a friendly tagalong in the forest. The damp setting, pure air and protected landscape create a healthy growing environment, while the giant trees provide a safe haven. Not an actual zapper of the tree’s vital energy; the Barba de Viejo mearly uses the vertical structure for a means of support.

With their home taken care of the mushroom and algae together work out a way to create substance. The fungus-factor takes care of retaining moisture. The algae acts as the refridgerator and stores the food.


The three of them together make for a playful aspect to the visual eye candy in the Andean forests.

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