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Mike's Blog - Day 255

A few of you have asked why the woodland stream was so orange. Obviously it’s a colour you associate with iron/rusting, and that’s pretty much what’s happening when the spring water meets the more abundant oxygen in the atmosphere. The water comes out of the ground clear, but there are bacteria that cause or speed up the change, at the same time gaining energy for themselves in the process.

There are other “deposits” of orange around the garden, on quite a few of the tree trunks. This is actually an orange coloured green algae, Trentepohliaprobably the species “aurea”.

Here are few example trees. The Shag bark Hickory (Carya ovata).

... and in close-up.

The butternut or white walnut (Juglans cinerea).

The Sweet Chestnut leaves oak (Quercus castanifolia) near the Millennium Bug.

And an American White ash, (Fraxinus americana).

I’m guessing the orange pigment, carotenoids, that the algal cells produce is the same pigment that gives carrots their colour.