Lichens are not a single organisms. They consist of an alga and a fungus living together in a symbiotic association. The fungus provides the structure (thallus). Because it can conduct photosynthesis, the alga contributes the nutrients that support both organisms. Reproductive methods among lichens are varied. In one method used by the Golden-eyed lichen, the fungal component engages in reproduction independent of its alga partner. It forms cup-like apothecia in which spores form and and from which spores are distributed. These spores will not produce another lichen because they only contain the genetic information of the fungus. For a lichen to result, they must recombine with the alga.
Identifying lichens visually is usually difficult to impossible. Many can only be positively identified by chemical analysis. However, the apothecia on the Golden-eye Lichen seem to be distinctive. They are the feature giving this lichen its common name, a distinction most other lichens lack. (If anyone believes my ID is wrong, I'd appreciate a correction.) These lichens were on the bark of a persimmon tree.
Sources and more photos:
Oklahoma State University
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