Saturday 26 November 2011

Wet days are great for lichens!

Something to cheer us all up today; Martin sent me two lichen photos from Lochgilphead which reminded me that this wet stuff is appreciated by some living organisms, if not all. The first species is abundant on Islay, but I'm not sure of the second. Both species grow on trees annd the first one is also known as Lungwort (hence its scientific name). I wasn't sure sure of the identification of the second one so sent it to one of the lichenologists who were here in May. I paste his reply to my query here:

"both are Lobaria.
As you say, the first one is Lobaria pulmonaria.
The second is Lobaria scrobiculata. Usually it is more of a brown-grey colour, but when very damp it goes slate-blue, as in the photograph. The network of sharp ridges over the surface is, however, pretty much diagnostic (of this and L. pulmonaria).
In Lobaria pulmonaria, the algal partner is a green alga (Chlorophyta), and so the lichen remains green when wet.

In L. scrobiculata, the "algal" partner is a blue-green alga (Cyanobacteria), and the blue pigment shows through when the lichen is wet."

Thanks for sending the photos Martin!

Lobaria pulmonaria

Lobaria scrobiculata


  1. Although the INHT biological records database currently only shows four records of Lobaria scrobiculata for Jura and none for Islay, there are in fact several records for Islay, as well as lots more for Jura and a few for Colonsay, which will be added to the database at the next update (fairly soon, I hope)

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