The lichen so good they named a Bond movie after it

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 17 February 2019 18:50

Did you know, Tina Turner is a keen lichenologist? So taken was she when she first recorded Golden-eye Lichen Teloschistes chrysophthalmus that she wrote the following song to celebrate its beauty, which was later used as a Bond theme tune! They even named a duck after it too! I imagine, like me, you always thought the Bond movie was named after the duck but it was, in fact, the lichen. You may recognise the particular shade of orange below on Pierce Brosnan's face, that's no coincidence. 

OK, none of the above is true but this is. I've wanted to see the Golden-eye Lichen for years, so was very pleased when Simon Davey mentioned that one had been found at Devil's Dyke. Then I had a message from Veronica Atalanta on Twitter with the gen. It didn't take too long to find it. I was totally wrong with the search image though, I was looking for something yellow, like the ubiquitous Xanthoria parietina but the Golden-eye Lichen is very much orange in comparison. I took this image below to show the difference between the colours of the two species, so it should be easier to get your eye in at a distance. It looks a bit like an orange Venus Flytrap!


Here are some more close ups. It's such a strange looking thing.
This lichen is listed as Critically Endangered and Nationally Rare but the Downs around Brighton and Lewes seem to be a hot spot for it, so keep your eyes peeled as it might be growing on some scrub near you!

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