Lichen collections

The lichen Xanthoria aureola

The lichen Xanthoria aureola

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.

It contains important historical collections, such as material collected by:

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

The Museum no longer keeps collections of non-lichenised ascomycetes or basidiomycetes. This material was transferred to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on permanent loan.

Major collections

These include:

  • British and Irish Lichen Herbarium
  • General¬†Lichen Herbarium
  • Myxogastria collection
  • Non-incorporated collections
  • Acharius Herbarium (Erik Acharius)
  • English Botany (Smith and Sowerby collection)
  • Fungal Model Collection (J Sowerby)

Country of origin

The collections contain lichens and lichenicolous fungi from around the world including Britain, Ireland, Antarctic areas, Australia, Chile and New Zealand.


Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.