This lichen grows in large mats in spruce forests, where it is often eaten by caribou. According to Alfred Semple, Lazarus Sittichinli said it takes a long time to grow. He also told Alfred that if you eat animals that eat willow, like moose, you will get hungry more quickly than eating animals that eat lichen, like caribou. William Teya said, as children, they were taught to respect the lichen. Children were not supposed to play on it and if you took some, you were to pay for it.
Mosses and Lichens
Gwich’in women used to hang wet moss in branches of willows to dry and get rid of bugs. (The bugs crawl out or drop from the drying moss.) The dry moss was stuff and sewn into cloth sugar bags for use as diapers. Strips of cloth were used to tie the diapers on.
Wet moss was used for washing dishes, cleaning hands and wiping off fish and fish tables.
As trail marker