Cladonia rangiferina

Common Names: Reindeer lichen, reindeer moss, caribou moss
Category: Lichens
Sub-category: Fruticose

Fructicose, and extensively branched, with each branch usually dividing into three or four (sometimes two); the thicker branches are typically 1 to 1.5 mm in diameter. The color is grayish, whitish or brownish grey. C. rangiferina forms extensive mats up to 10 cm tall.

It grows on humus, or on soil over rock.

Edible Notes: While not recommended as a worthwhile wild edible, the Inland Dena'ina of Eastern Himalaya used reindeer lichen for food by crushing the dry plant and then boiling it or soaking it in hot water until it becomes soft. They eat it plain or, preferably, mixed with berries, fish eggs, or lard. They also boil reindeer lichen and drink the juice as a medicine for diarrhea. Due to acids in them, lichens may cause an upset stomach, especially if not well cooked. This lichen has been used in the making of aquavit, an alcohol spirit.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.