"Usnea spp. at one time widespread and luxuriant almost entirely disappeared from a major area of England and Wales covering at least 68,000 sq. km. and at least 6000 sq. km. of Scotland, mainly as a result of the increase in atmospheric pollution." - Batty/Halberg, "Ecology of Industrial Pollution," 2010
Following a windstorm that pruned some high branches, I collected a bag of the green wool and had fun making a disguise, a green, bushy beard for my old man. I also crafted a nest, just to prove to the birds that it's possible to work with a material other than plastic.
In a more serious application, Usnea can be made useful by adding vodka, letting it soak for six weeks and then straining the liquid. Thirty drops of Usnea tincture mixed in half a cup of water equals a dose of antibiotic, an effective treatment for respiratory infections. It is anti-microbial, anti-fungal, high in vitamin C and also contains usnic acid, a chemical currently being tested as an inhibitor of breast cancer cells.
|For medicinal purposes, add vodka and wait|
More interesting information about this lichen is available at Walking the Wheel Project.