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Cladonia stellaris was used as supplementary winter fodder for cattle in parts of southern Norway. The lichen was often collected in the mountains, not in the forests, in order to avoid the pine needles. In the autumn, moist lichens were picked by hand or special rakes and bundled together. Later in the winter horses pulled the frozen bundles home on sledges, each load weighted on the average 400-450 kg. In some districts, each cow was given 3-5 sledge loads during the winter.
Cladonia stellaris has also been used as human food in starvation periods, albeit Cetraria islandica has been more important for this purpose. The human stomach lacks the appropriate microorganisms to degrade lichen carbohydrates. However, the polymer carbohydrate, lichenin, will swell in boiling water. By eating boiled lichens the stomach will be inflated enough to stop the feeling of hunger (at least for a while) .