"Great trailing beards of lichen hung from them, blowing and swaying in the breeze."
The trees of Fangorn Forest
described in The Two Towers
III 3,The Uruk-hai
A kind of growth most often found on surfaces such as tree trunks or rocks, while some kinds hang from tree branches in green-grey clumps (the 'beards' in the quote above). Lichens are not in fact individual living things, but a combined growth usually made up from fungi and primitive plants. Though they were doubtless as widespread in Middle-earth as they are today, they were particularly associated with deep and dense forests; travellers reported finding great growths of them in both Mirkwood and Fangorn Forest.
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