Alan Silverside's Lichen Pages

Photographs of Scottish and other British lichens

Lichen diversity, left-right: Flavoparmelia caperata, Leptogium gelatinosum, Calicium viride, Cladonia bellidiflora, Lichenomphalia velutina, Xanthoria parietina

Thumbnail index to species
A–B C D–K L–M N–O P Q–T U–Z + photobionts
Lichenicolous fungi
(non-lichenised fungi growing on lichens)
Text index to all species   (no thumbnails)

Links: a haphazard collection
relating to images, identification and ecology
 Go to Links
References cited on individual species pages Go to References
FAQ and glossary (under development) Go to FAQ and Glossary
Conditions of use Go to Conditions of use
News and updates Go to Updates


This site was begun in January 2003 on the now defunct biosciences teaching and research server at the (then) University of Paisley. It was transferred to in 2008, allowing much faster response times, greater capacity and stability for the forseeable future. Ultimate responsibility for content and accuracy of this site is mine, but it would not have been possible without Brian & Sandy Coppins, John Douglass, Pat Wolseley, David Hawksworth and others, who have run courses and meetings, tolerated my beginner's errors, and otherwise helped in my understanding of these fascinating and addictive dual organisms.

Recent additions include images from the British Lichen Society meeting, Isle of Muck (Inner Hebrides), June 2012.
See updates for additions and important page revisions.

Caloplaca verruculifera on a wet day


Notes for this Site

On publication of Smith, C.W., et al. 2009, The lichens of Great Britain and Ireland, I updated all species names used here to follow this standard work. However, at the moment of writing (May 2012), more than two years have elapsed and and taxonomic knowledge has moved on. Edition 6 (2011) of F.S. Dobson's Lichens, an illustrated guide to the British and Irish species has appeared, with a few of the names updated from Smith et al. At least some name changes appear to me now to be unarguable. Certain forthcoming additions to this site will be better added under their new, currently "correct" names.
I am, however, also mindful that visitors to this site need to relate the names here to those in the identification guides they are using. This site is meant to supplement such guides, not in any way to replace them. So, for example I am not (yet) splitting the large genus Verrucaria here, even though there is good, well-based reason to do so.
Nevertheless, as of now, I am abandoning strict adherence to Smith et al. and will use updated names where they appear well founded and likley to be stable. Names used in the above two works will still be included in the indexes.

Site History
This site was set up in January 2003, originally as a means of sharing my photographs from the courses on lichen identification run by Brian and Sandy Coppins (at Kindrogan Field Centre, Perthshire, Scotland, April 2002 and 2003), but with awareness that, at that time, there was apparently no other website attempting to provide a general set of images of British lichens. It was was hosted on the University of Paisley (now University of the West of Scotland) life and environment teaching server, at, and was kept and extended as a teaching resource illustrating lichen diversity and as a resource for fellow lichenologists and other external users. Further pictures were added as time and inclination allowed.

When this hosting arrangement effectively came to an end, the primary site was re-established and extended here at It remains a companion to my UWS BIODIVERSITY REFERENCE former teaching resource, which has also mostly been transferred to this server. Personal copyright is retained in all materials posted here. I have a considerable and growing backlog of other species awaiting loading, so it is worth checking back here from time to time (check News and updates).

Copyright exists in all images and other material on this site. Requests for non-commercial use of images in the fields of conservation and education will generally be viewed positively — for a summary of what you can do and not do, see the site Conditions of Use.

Cladonia digitata, Stirlingshire

Site Format
Primarily each species page consists of one or more photographs plus brief recognition notes and references to other, published photographs and/or descriptions. Descriptions are partly as an aide-mémoire for myself and are not designed to substitute for consultation of a good identification guide. The references are by no means comprehensive and generally relate to material in my own possession; they are as listed on the References page. More detailed descriptions, distribution maps and additional photographs of most species may be found in F.S. Dobson's excellent Lichens, an illustrated guide to the British and Irish species, editions 5 & 6 (2005, 2011).

The site is restricted to British species but I have used a small number of photographs taken outside Britain when they better illustrate the species concerned.
Locality format is generally place and county, but note that "county" refers to the traditional counties and may not correspond to current administrative units. Where there is a conflict between a vice-county (as used in vice-comital recording systems) and a current "county", vice-comital definitions have been followed.

As the aim is to provide good-sized illustrations of (where possible) reasonable quality, I regret that pages will be slow to load on dial-up internet connections. Optimum screen resolution is now 1280×1024, reflecting the general move to higher definition flat-screen monitors, though 1024×768 settings will continue to be appropriate. Page coding is simple, in good, old-fashioned HTML 3, and should be readable by any browser without need for plug-ins. However, rendition is somewhat better in Internet Explorer as compared with Firefox (text quality, text layouts and visible alt tags to images). I do not use pop-ups, cookies or javascript gimicks and no material is brought from exterior servers to cause loading delays. (This is a Google-Analytics-free zone!)

Lichen photography is a challenge, requiring care, refinement of technique and time that is not available when one is part of an organised group of people. Most of the Kindrogan 2002/2003 photographs were taken with a digital camera, but often with little time and the camera wobbling on the end of a monopod with little depth of field in limited light. The definition isn't that good in many of them but I am keeping them as aids to help me remember the species seen, and a (very) few photographs I am rather pleased with.

As opportunity allows, I am adding photographs taken usually with more control over the conditions and I am slowly replacing some of the poorer examples. I have experimented with various cameras, but currently I use the excellent Canon EOS 7D as my main camera. Many of the more recent photographs have been with the Olympus SP-560UZ, which is less cumbersome, versatile and generally excellent, but which, like many digital cameras, has a serious weakness in rendering greenish-yellow colours (Lecanora sulphurea, Xanthoparmelia conspersa, etc.) and pale grey-green (e.g. Ramalina, Usnea). The Fuji S100FS has better colour rendition than the Olympus (and probably the Canon) and has given good results, but it is also rather cumbersome when dealing with lichens in awkward positions. I use it intermittently. Studio close-ups are down a Kyowa zoom-stereo microscope with a Nikon Coolpix 990 camera and an adapter from an eBay supplier in India (after a claimed adapter from a British supplier failed to fit).

Please note that I do NOT offer an identification service for lichens. Help with identification from photographs may be available through iSpot (
Identification of lichens is often not possible from a photograph even when the photograph is technically perfect; key features often require a hand-lens or even a microscope or chemicals. When I have time (limited!) to try such identifications I do so through iSpot.

Wicken Fen
For several years I was the appinted Fungal Recorder for Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire (NNR and National Trust reserve and one of the surviving fragments of the former Great Fen that occupied a large area of Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire inland from the Wash). More recently, the lichenised fungi were added to my remit. While recording arrangements have now changed, I would still be very pleased to receive any reliable records for lichenised or non-lichenised fungi that Wicken Fen visitors might have tucked away in notebooks.

The Banner Graphic
Identities, from left to right: Flavoparmelia caperata, Leptogium gelatinosum, Calicium viride, Cladonia bellidiflora, Lichenomphalia velutina, Xanthoria parietina.

Dr. Alan J. Silverside
e-mail address, non-clickable to reduce spam harvesting

Conditions of Use home page

Site, photographs & background graphics © A.J. Silverside, 2003-2016
Page uploaded March 2008, last update of this page, January 2016
(site first hosted at, January 2003)