Rock tripe (Umbilicaria species)

Rock TripeThe Rock Tripe plant is a lichen that forms large patches with curling edges. The top of the plant is usually black. The underside is lighter in color.  It typically grows on rocks.

Where to Find: Remember that some lichens or toxic so apply the universal edibility test before eating any lichenLook on rocks and boulders for this plant. It is common throughout North America especially in New England and the Rocky Mountains.

Edible Parts: The entire plant is edible. Scrape it off the rock and wash it to remove grit. The plant may be dry and crunchy; soak it in water until it becomes soft. Rock Tripes may contain large quantities of bitter substances; soaking or boiling the plant in several changes of water will remove the bitterness.  The plant has a bland taste, much like pasta or dumplings.

Note: Some lichens do contain toxic substances and even Rock Tripe can cause stomach cramps.  The bitter substances may cause stomach aches if too much is consumed.  Leach Rock Tripe over night and boil it thoroughly to remove the bitter substances.

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