Stone Flower is a Lichen and belongs to Parmeliaceae family. In Kannada it is known as Kallu Hoovu, Hindi it is Kalpassi and Pathar Ke Phool. Botanical name is Lichen Parmelia.
When visiting rocky areas with ample rain like the Western Ghats, you can see ash colored, flattened, dry growth on rocks and trees. This is the edible Stone Flower. They are pale bluish-gray, brown, or yellow and grow on rocks. Various shapes are tubular, leaf-like, upright, branching and flat. The lower part is black. Yellow stone flower is poisonous but the rest are edible.
125 species of edible lichen Parmelia is recorded in India.
Lichen is an unique association of two organisms, a fungus and an alga(e) or moss, who co-exist in a mutually beneficial live-in relationship.
Lichens are nutritious and hence used as fodder. They are used as a spice in Indian cuisine because of the distinct flavor and taste.
Stone flowers are antiseptic, pain killer, anti-fungal, anti-biotic, expectorant, astringent, and anti-viral and hence used as a medicine to cure certain ailments.