In the world of field botany and rare plant seeking, a bit of luck always helps. It's mostly skill - one has to know the common species well in order to recognize the unusual. And the botanist has to be very much aware of habitats and especially the nuances of micro-habitats in order to place himself/herself into situations where rarities might be found.
But a bit of luck always come in handy.
Early last April, a few friends and I went botanizing in Lawrence County, about as far south in Ohio as one can get. You can read more about that mission right here. Rolling along a country lane, I saw a roadside covered with Moss Phlox, Phox subulata. Not one to miss a good photo op with one of our most beautiful native wildflowers, we screeched to a stop and leaped out to snap some photos. What then happened is not uncommon when some good plant hunters converge on a site. Dan Boone, Ray Showman, and Jim Mundy began combing the slope while I tried for the perfect phlox shot.
But find one we did, and coincidence or not, the rest of the trip produced some stunning finds.
Whatever you call it, the lichen is a charmer, quite beautiful upon close inspection.