ID guides to lichens and mosses published

New keys to more than 50 species of mosses and lichens most commonly found growing on fruit trees have been released today.

The fully-illustrated guides, developed by OPAL East of England in collaboration with the Field Studies Council, cover species local to eastern England, but many are also found throughout the UK.

Fruit trees with lichens growing on the branchesOrchards are recognised biodiversity hotspots and the guides aim to help orchard owners, amateur naturalists and experts to identify and record the changes in biodiversity in their area.

Lichen diversity was devastated by the pollution of the Industrial Revolution but is now recovering and OPAL scientists are encouraging people to study and record the spread of these organisms.

“There has been a spectacular re-colonisation by lichens,” said OPAL East of England community scientist Helene Coleman. “Some of the lichens involved in this re-colonisation have only recently been described and they are new to science.

"A great deal of useful recording can be performed by amateur lichenologists.”

For a limited time, free printed copies are available for distribution to you, your nature group or your school.