On New Year’s Day, lace lichen, a stringy green organism often called “Spanish moss” that hangs from oak trees around California, joined the grizzly bear, California poppy, California quail and gold as an official California State symbol.
The new law, signed last July by Gov. Jerry Brown, made California the first state to claim an official lichen. Lace lichen can be found in almost every part of the state, from the north to south and up to 130 miles inland from the shoreline. Draping from tree branches, which it uses for support, not sustenance, there are about 1,900 kinds of lichen, along with the lace variety, native to California.
The California Lichen Society proposed adding a state lichen and state Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, wrote AB 1528, which sailed through the Legislature without much disagreement.
Levine said he carried the bill because it fits his interests.
“I have lifelong love of the outdoors,” he said. “I loved exploring and playing under the tree canopies as a boy.”