Trentepohlia Beauty in the Forest

During a recent trip to New Zealand I had the opportunity to create some images at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua. This also gave me the chance to view an abundance of trentepohlia beauty in the forest. 

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13mm, efov 35mm, f/8, 1/40, ISO-800

The bright orange colour you see in the images in this article is caused by trentepohlia – a member of the algae family.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, efov 18mm, f/8, 1/25, ISO-160

It grows on tree trunks and limbs, as well as on rocks, walls, on leaf surfaces, and symbiotically with lichen.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7mm, efov 19mm, f/8, 1/80, ISO-800

Trentepohlia is found on most continents. It gets its bright orange colour from the presence of haematochrome which hides the green pigment of the algae.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 8mm, efov 22mm, f/9, 1/13, ISO-160

Trentepohlia primarily grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates where damp conditions exist. There are some variations that grow in cooler climates as well.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13mm, efov 35mm, f/8, 1/20, ISO-800

I find that its unique colour can add flashes of interest to an image, and even some hints of its orange hue can give a a stark photograph a unique twist.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, efov 18mm, f/8, 1/80, ISO-1600

I also love creating compositions that include pops of bright green to act as a complementary colour.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, efov 18mm, f/8, 1/20, ISO-1600

The next time you are in a damp forest environment look for trentepohlia and let your creativity loose with this unique forest colouration.

If you enjoyed this article you may want to have a look at New Zealand Tip-to-Tip. This 250 page eBook features 89 locations in New Zealand and over 400 original photographs. You can use the link to see more detailed information about the eBook. The cost of New Zealand Tip-to-Tip is $12.99 Canadian.


My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to make a modest $10 donation through PayPal to support my work it would be most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to through PayPal.

As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.

Article and all images are Copyright 2016 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.

3 thoughts on “Trentepohlia Beauty in the Forest”

  1. Interesting! I have never heard of this kind of algae before and I live in south Louisiana and may have seen it but didn’t know what I was seeing. I might have thought it was a fungus. I have aquariums with different algae and even have some growing on my house in damp spots.

    I just found this article about a place with a lot of it: Look at This: A Valley Painted Red with Algae – 80beats : 80beats –

    By the way, I really like the crooked branches and trees in many of these photos. Thanks for sharing them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *