Blue Green Algae

Growing on my steps in the garden is a green/brown jelly like plant. I have never seen it anywhere else, but then again it is not the most spectacular or noticeable plant.blue-green1 It is always there when the steps are wet and disappears in the summer when the steps dry out. I  assumed it was some kind of algae or maybe a liverwort.   So I looked it up with the help of google and this is what I found.

Nostoc commune, a type of blue green algae sometimes referred to as star jelly or witch’s butter. Under warm, rainy conditions this land loving algae forms dark green, jellylike mats in lawns, driveways, and parking areas. When the sun comes out it quickly begins to dry up, progressing from a gummy blob to a dry crisp mat within a few hours. Drying out does not kill this algae; It simply goes dormant, waiting for the next rainfall to rehydrate and plump up again.blue-green4

Now incase you do not know, blue green algae are really primitive. If you remember your ‘O’ level Biology, cells have a nucleus which is where the genetic material is stored. But two groups of organisms do not have a nucleus and these are bacteria and these primitive algae called Blue green algae. They still have genetic material but it is not contained in a nucleus, it just floats about in the cell. So these cells are way down the evolutionary scale. What I find amazing is that despite being so primitive, this species still can grow into a structure that you can see and pick up, (should you wish).blue-green3

So there you have it. Oh yes it is called star jelly because people thought that it developed from the place where shooting stars hit the ground.????

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