Cali Likes a Lichen

Photo by Shelly Benson

Photo by Shelly Benson


Among new California state laws taking effect at the beginning of 2016 was one designating lace lichen as the official lichen of California. The organism joins a list of more 30 officially designated state symbols, including the redwood tree, California poppy, purple needlegrass and of course, the California dogface butterfly.

Why go to the trouble of picking a state lichen, or a state bird, or fish, or reptile? I talked to some super-stoked lichenologists to find out.

This story aired on KCRW's "All Things Considered" in 2016.