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"Witch's hair" (Alectoria sarmentosa) on a western hemlock near Juneau, Alaska. In the winter when other forage is buried under snow, white-tailed deer in the Northwest eat witch's hair that has blown down from the treetops during storms.

This lichen was valued as fiber in traditional cultures in the Northwest. It was used as bandages, baby diapers, feminine hygiene supplies, and even as raw material for ponchos and footwear (Lillooet). It made good artifical hair for decorating dance masks.






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Photograph copyright Stephen/Sylvia Sharnoff