Lichens are amongst the most commonplace, yet bizarre, creatures you are likely to come across.

The patchworks of colour you see on many weathered rocks and churchyard headstones; the ‘fluffy’ or ‘stringy’ growths adorning many tree trunks and branches; and the swathes of ‘reindeer moss’ spreading across bogs and sand dunes; all are various types of lichen.

Lichens are a uniquely successful partnership between two or three different organisms (a fungus in partnership with an alga and/or a cyanobacterium - blue/green alga). This partnership has allowed them to colonise habitats too hostile for almost any other organism.

Parmotrema perlatum © Robert Thompson Lichenomphalia umbellifera © Mike Simms Rhizocarpon geographicum © Robert Thompson
Peltigera hymenina © Robert Thompson Cladonia pyxidata © Robert Thompson Evernia prunastri © Robert Thompson Ophioparma ventosa © Mike Simms
Caloplaca thallincola © Robert Thompson Usnea rubicunda © Mike Simms Porpidia crustulata © Mike Simms