Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Lichens from Ards

Lobaria pulmonaria is a lichen in which the photobiont (aka 'the prisoner') is a nitrogen fixer and they are a major source of nitrogen for forest plants, including the trees they grow on. This is the only location where I have found the species, although I understand it is more frequent in southwest Ireland.

Lobaria virens is even scarcer in Ards than its close relative: in fact I know of only one tree which hosts it.

You have to go the oldest and cleanest forests to find these lichens: they are extremely sensitive to disturbance and pollution.


Nyctalus said...

Hi Stuart, I've just come upon your blog and been really enjoying it. This post interested me because I first saw what I put down as ‘lungwort’ earlier this year in Scotland. I should have paid more attention as I didn’t realise that there was more than one species. Looking at your photos I now wonder whether what I was looking at was actually Lobaria virens. I wonder if you might check out my photos and let me know what you think? I’ve put them up on my blog at http://standandstare-nyctalus.blogspot.com/.
Lichens are not my strong point but I intend to pay them a bit more attention now!
Many thanks for any i/d help. Best wishes

Stuart said...

Welcome, Allan. Your specimen looks fine for Lobaria pulmonaria to me.

Lichens are certainly fascinating and now is the time to look at them, since they're more visible when the leaves have fallen from the trees.

Lobaria are extremely sensitive to pollution, and have a western distribution:


I'm about 15 miles east of the coast and we don't have any local specimens! I wonder what that straggler was doing in Dublin.

Nyctalus said...

Thanks Stuart and for the pointer to the NBN distribution map. Scarce things in my neck of the woods in NE England although a friend of mine says he knows of one tiny patch on one tree somewhere in Northumberland! I suppose these maps reflect where the observers are to some extent.