Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Close-up of biocrust - lichen

Detailed Description

Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are lichens, mosses, and cyanobacteria that grow on the soil surface and are common in the spaces between native plants in arid and semi-arid systems. Biocrusts reduce soil erosion, contribute to nutrient and water cycling, and reduce evaporation and invasion by exotic plants. The green-red plants with flower bud stalks are likely Collinsia parviflora, or Blue-eyed Mary. The whitish with black spot speckles are lichen.


Public Domain.