Lichen collections

The Museum’s lichen collection is one of the world's largest and is an important research resource.

The collection consists of about 400,000 specimens and at least 10,000 type specimens.

We hold important historical collections, such as material collected by:

  • E. Acharius
  • J. M. Crombie
  • W. A. Leighton
  • J. Stirton

The Museum does not keep collections of non-lichenised ascomycetes or basidiomycetes. This material was transferred to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew as a permanent loan.

The Museum retains a small reference collection of parasymbionts and a few saprophytic fungi, such as the genera Sarea and Stenocybe, which traditionally were often collected by lichenologists.

  • The lichen Xanthoria aureola
    Lichen herbaria

    The Museum houses lichen collections from around the globe, including extensive collections from the southern hemisphere. Slime moulds are also curated within the lichen section.

  • Erik Acharius, who is known as the father of lichenology
    Historic lichen collections

    A number of historic lichen collections of outstanding importance are curated separately from the main lichen herbaria. These include the Acharius Herbarium and what are likely to be the world’s earliest scientifically accurate fungi models.