A historically important collection of lichens, along with an extensive modern collection of British material that underpins our current knowledge of the British lichen flora.
465 type specimens
Lichens are very diverse; there are c. 20,000 to 30,000 species globally. They are ecologically important; they break down rocks forming stable soils, and they fix nitrogen from the atmosphere making it available for plant growth.
Scotland is home to more than 1,500 different species of lichens, and RBGE has an active research programme to discover, protect and restore Scotland’s lichen diversity. This ranges from work on the summits of the Cairngorms – finding new species and monitoring the effects of climate change; to habitat restoration for vulnerable Celtic rainforests.
Our comprehensive modern lichen collections include the extensive collections of Brian Coppins, which are particularly focused on diverse and difficult groups including Micarea and sterile crusts.
The collections also include historically important specimens, such as lichens collected during the global voyages of Archibald Menzies during the late 18th century. Other notable collections include those by Joseph Hooker from the sub-Antarctic Islands, by Lauder Lindsay from New Zealand and Iceland, and by Alfred Eaton during the 'Transit of Venus' Expedition (1874) to the Southern Ocean, including Kerguelan. Among the historical British and Scottish collections, there is material collected by William Borrer, Robert Kaye Greville, James McAndrew and John Duncan.
Our lichen collection is currently being digitised.
- William J. Borrer, as part of James Brodie’s material, British & Scottish (1781-1862)
- Brian Coppins (1949-)
- John Duncan, British & Scottish (1794-1881)
- Alfred Eaton – ‘Transit of Venus’ Expedition (1874) to Southern Ocean inc. Kergulean
- Robert Kaye Greville, British & Scottish (1794-1866)
- Joseph Hooker, sub-Antarctic Islands (1817-1911)
- Lauder Lindsay, New Zealand & Iceland (1829-1880)
- James McAndrew, British & Scottish (1836-1917)
- Archibald Menzies (1754-1842)