by Jane Perinacci
(Mentor, Ohio)


Here is a picture of some sort of fungus I picked off my grandparents tombstone in Finland two years ago. It is called jakala (two dots over each "a" and pronounced jeh-keh-leh). Thank goodness Customs didn't check my wallet! I'll deny this story to my death!!!! LOL! I was wondering if you could just look at it and see if we have anything like it here in the States.

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It's Lichen!
by: Amy

What a great story!

When I looked at this, I thought it looked like some sort of lichen. Lo and behold when I researched jäkälä it turns out to be just that, grey lichen.

This website hasn't touched much on lichen, although I really should. This unique organism is formed from a symbiosis between a fungus and a plant partner such as green or grey algae. Imagine plant cells surrounded by fungal cells, resulting in the interesting shapes, sizes, and colors of various lichens.

You can find them all over the world, sometimes in extremely harsh environments. I actually learned a lot about Finland from researching your question, and found a great article by a gentleman who went mushroom hunting in Finland here (my kingdom to be able to use HTML in these comments and make this a direct link but I don't think I can):


And I am insanely jealous by the way. I'd LOVE to go to Finland, or any Scandinavian country. My grandmother's family came from Sweden so I've always longed to go to that part of the world!

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