Black tree lichen
or horsehair lichen
can be found on coniferous trees
in Western Canada and the United States. It consists of dark coloured filaments which hang from branches, growing up to 90cm long. It is soft when wet but gets hard as it dries.
Black tree lichen was a very important food for indigenous people who used it largely as an emergency food. Unlike most lichens in the area, it is low in vulpinic acid
, making it edible. It can be eaten raw in emergencies but should still be modified before eaten. It can be used year round, and when cooked, can be stored as dried 'cakes' or crackers.