About lichens

Welcome to the wonderful world of lichens, with each lichen a miniature ecosystem of fungi, a photobiont and more.

  • Start your lichen journey here: explore their amazing features, learn what makes a lichen tick and what environmental factors to look for.
  • Then pick up a hand lens and move on to our guidance and techniques for studying lichens.
Lichen community on twigs © April Windle

Start to learn about lichens here...

A lichen is not a single organism; it is a stable symbiotic association between a fungus and algae and/or cyanobacteria.

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Lichen Biology: spores in ascus

Learn where lichens can live, what they need to survive, how they reproduce and what substances are found within lichens.

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Devils matchsticks Cladonia © April Windle

Learn about the main forms lichens take: Leprose, Crustose, Placodioid, Squamulose, Foliose, Fruticose and combinations of these!

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Lichen zonation along a rocky shore (Beagle's Point, Cornwall) © April Windle

Learn what factors determine where lichens can grow such as acidity or tree bark and pollution levels.

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Lichen community on acid rock © April Windle

Learn the words we use to describe the lichen symbiosis, growth forms, substrata, position, recording and identification.

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