iSPY Lichens @ School in 2016

Lichens are found everywhere in ireland. They grow on rocks, walls, trees, bushes, on sawn timber and even on glass. Some lichens grow really fast, others grow very slowly.

You will see lichens grow on walls and trees as blotches of different colour. Some are white or grey or yellow. Some look like mini shrubs, especially if they are on trees.

The playground in your school probably has lichens growing in it. Maybe they are on the wall, especially the top, or on some of the trees.
There are over 1100 different types of lichens in Ireland. This is a very large number for such a small country. Ireland has a fantastic lichen biodiversity.

On this web site you will learn about 12 different lichens
Here are the lichens you will look for:

1. Aspicila - a white blotch on walls.
2. Xanthoria - found on walls and twigs mainly
3. Caloplaca - found on walls mainly
4. Melanelixia - flat olive green leafy lichen on twigs
5. Flavoparmelia - broad flat wrinkled apple green lichen with powdery bits found on tree trunks
6. Parmelia - grey thin lobes with small white veins
7. Physcia - narrow grey lobes with whiskers and white underneath
8. Hypogymnia - has hollow grey lobes and powder on parts
9. Evernia - narrow grey lobes that are white underneath
10. Usnea - is thread-like and grows in tufts on branches
11.Ramalina - small grey-greenish bush-like lichen of trees and seashore rocks.
12. Cladonia - small stalks with 'cups' and sometimes red tips.

You can down load a guide to these lichens here: (guide currently in development - september 2010)

Also, for more details look at iSPY Lichens Lichens.ie.

Lichens and pollution

Some lichens like pollution or can tolerate it. They grow very well even if a habitat is polluted. For example, Xanthoria likes places that have too much nitrogen pollution.

Some lichens hate pollution and die. For example, if the air is polluted Usnea will die.

More information

1. Lichens of Ireland Lichens.ie. You can hear the pronunciation of lichen names here and look at maps to see if they could be in your county.

2. Irish Lichens with lots of photos Irish Lichen.ie.

3. A list of all lichens in Ireland with lots of photos LichenIreland Project.

iSPYnature.com Lichens

iSPYnature.com Lichens

Tree with a wonderful display of lichens. Photo taken in Killarney National Park, November 2009.