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Lichen Identification




One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about lichens. What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create data for scientists working to better understand and protect lichens and their habitat. Enthusiasts and naturalists for Atlantic Canada's lichen biodiversity are available specifically on the Lichens of Atlantic Canada project page. 

At last, a light and easy-to-use field guide to the rich lichen flora of Northeastern North America. The authors have designed this user-friendly guide for amateur naturalists, nature interpreters, forestry workers, land surveyors, researchers, and the general public. Meant to fit in a pocket or backpack, it requires no previous botanical experience and is written in non-technical language. One hundred and thirty-eight lichens are featured. The guide is formatted so that each page is arranged by the surface a featured lichen grows on in the field, its shape or growth form, and then its color. Available for purchase from the New York Botanical Gardens Press.

A downloadable key to macrolichens that occur in Maine, almost all are present in Nova Scotia. It’s very similar to keys in the Macrolichens of New England, with less emphasis on chemical testing. There are no photos, but this key is handy to use in the field.

Based on fieldwork and research by the authors during the last 35 years, the Macrolichens of New England is the most comprehensive work of its kind. Ninety-eight genera and 461 species of macrolichens are described, most of which occur in Nova Scotia, making this an excellent manual for intermediate-level naturalists. Colour photographs included for 308 species. The volume also includes, among others: introductory material on general lichen morphology and a glossary of terms for less experienced readers; advice on collecting lichens and performing chemical tests; identification keys; a review of the ecological role and uses of New England lichens; and conservation status.

This stunning book—the first accessible and authoritative guidebook to lichens of the North American continent—fills the gap, presenting superb color photographs, descriptions, distribution maps, and keys for identifying the most common, conspicuous, or ecologically significant species. The book focuses on 805 foliose, fruticose, and crustose lichens and presents information on another 700 species in the keys or notes.

Created in response to requests from longtime users of the Lichens of North America book, this addition compiles updated and expanded keys for the identification of these fascinating organisms. An ideal laboratory resource, it covers over 2,000 species of lichens indigenous to the continent. There is no comparable volume for the region. 

Lichen Photos

North America:

Ways of Enlichenment includes photos of British Columbia lichens primarily, but expanding its range.

Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria (CNALH/Lichen portal), is a consortium of participating lichen herbaria in North America showing holdings of all the participating institutions, with photos and descriptions of many species. 

Crustose lichens of the Pacific Northwest contains photos as a companion to the book by Bruce McCune, Microlichens of the Pacific Northwest. 


University at Bergen, Norway

Swedish naturalist and photographer Leif Stridvall

Western coast of Brittany in France 

Association francaise de lichenologie

University of Trieste, Italy  

Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland:


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