Monday, 15 July 2013

Lichen article

Lecanora campestris grows on an old headstone
While I have been away in the field studying waders and eagles, I missed the publication of one of my articles on lichens in the May edition of the Leopard magazine. This is such a wide topic with thousands of species in the UK alone, so I focused on readily accessible species which people can find growing on gravestones.

Lichens can be difficult to identify, partly because some need to be keyed out to microscopic or chemical characteristics, but also because so few have common names. Scientific double nomenclature can put people off, and in the case of lichens seem overwhelming. I am a scientist, but I do not like aloofness, I like to share my knowledge and experiences of wildlife with people. And the more I share, the more I find I learn. Perhaps if more people were to become interested in lichens more of them would gain common names? Do not be afraid of scientific snobbery, get out there and enjoy the variety of colour and shapes which abound in the wild outdoors 

Xanthoria parietina grows on a gravestone where bird-droppings enrich the surface


  1. Hi Stuart
    Do you still follow lichen in graveyards?
    We have some fine examples in Robertson, if you are ever passing through.

    Denis Wilson

  2. Hi Dennis, yes and I might just do that.