Just off the road and near the bus stop near Hotel Rosenlaui, stands a Sycamore with a special plant cover. If you go some steps uphill on the narrow trail, you discover perhaps on the ground foliose lobes with a loose network structure. Surely you can see this slashed thallus, which can reach several decimeters in diameter, on the trunks and the branches of the Sycamore. It is the Lobaria pulmonaria. The upper surface is pale green-brown when dry, bright green when wet. Its name comes from its similarity to the shape of the human lung. According to the doctrine of signatures, the lichen has been used, as a remedy for lung diseases and respiratory problems. The Lobaria pulmonaria reacts extremely sensitive to air pollution, therefore its presence indicates an excellent air quality. In the Reichenbach valley the lichens find good conditions and are therefore quite frequent. In Switzerland, in the northern Alps and the Jura it is even more common, where it preferably grows on old Sycamore and Beech trees in humid locations. The lichens and their habitats, however, are at risk due to air pollution and forest interventions. Therefore, the species is strictly protected throughout Europe. It must not be collected or otherwise damaged.
You discover on the same tree, on the branches growing over the path, the Rudolphs’ Tayloria moss (Tayloria Rudolphiana). From beneath you observe the striking orange stems of the spore capsules growing upwards. The capsules look like small trumpets, therefore it also called trumpet moss. Millions of spores are produced every year in the spore capsules, serving the reproduction. These spores have a slightly sticky surface and adhere against each other. Therefore it is unlikely that they will be spread by the wind as it is typical for most other moss species. Furthermore, there are indications that special fragrances are produced on the capsule to attract flies.
The Rudolphs’ Tayloria moss grows almost exclusively on branches of very old, exposed Sycamore trees in humid locations in the mountain and sub-alpine stages. Due to its narrow ecological demands this moss species is a real rarity. It is found only in the Northern Alps (Austria, Germany, Switzerland) and sporadically in China. The moss species is strictly protected. In the Reichenbach valley it was found on several trees - but it is far less common than the Lobaria pulmonaria.
The Squirrel-tail Moss (Leucodon sciuroides, picture A) is the most common moss species on the Sycamores in the Reichenbach valley. The trunks and the thicker branches are densely covered with this moss species.
The Orthotrichum moss (Orthotrichum rogeri, picture B) is a protected moss species which grows typically only in the upper crown area.