Back to the Index page

Lichens in Bransdale: Saturday, 10th July

led by Don Smith
Pictures © Tom Denney & Stuart Dunlop, used with permission

Xanthoria parietina As usual Don came to the outing well prepared, with lichen posters in the Church Porch, and with handouts for the attendees. He also very kindly provided a list of the species seen (below). Ten bird species were also noted.

Seven Ryenats members met at St. Nicholas’ Church, Bransdale to have a look at the lichen in this isolated churchyard. Bransdale is one of the more than 1500 sites that Don has visited over the years in the north of England and southern Scotland in his role as Upland England churchyard lichen survey coordinator for the British Lichen Society. Bransdale is a good site as it is undisturbed and well away from industrial pollution. In previous visits Don has identified 66 species of lichen and in our tour of the church walls and gravestones we saw a good number of these, plus one or two that Don identified for the first time in the churchyard.
Above left: Xanthoria parietina.

Don pointing out lichens
Don (left) pointing out the lichens on the church wall
© Tom Denney 2004

Before looking at the individual species Don outlined the three basic lichen growth forms, crustose, foliose and fruticose; and the three reproductive surface features, sorediate, isidiate and fertile. Then armed with magnifying glasses we entered the world of lichens and saw how attractive they were, often forming small gardens clinging to the old stone in the churchyard. We also learnt how to recognise the different types of reproduction features, and were shown different lichens specific to sandstone, marble and granite. Many of the lichens are tiny and similar and it was a trifle disconcerting for some of us when we saw Don having to get out his chemical testing kit to verify some species!

Hypogymnia physodes It was also interesting to learn of the importance of lichen through the ages starting with the ancient Egyptians, and in such diverse roles as dyes, perfumes, litmus and funeral wreaths. Also in Lichenometry, dating rock surfaces by the state of the lichen growth. Right: Hypogymnia physodes.

Following our detailed and very interesting study of the lichen we were all very appreciative of the excellent tea and cakes provided by members of Bransdale Church in aid of Church Funds. It seems a good idea to have this facility available on some of our outings, and such were the takings on this lichen foray that we are being requested to consider Bransdale Church as a venue for another outing in 2005.

Tom Denney, 11th July 2004

Bird list
Sparrowhawk (carrying small prey in talons), Great Spotted Woodpecker (drumming), Woodpigeon, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Greenfinch, Linnet & Siskin. Thanks to Jim Pewtress

Back to Top

Rhizocarpon geographicum Porpidia tuberculosa

left: Rhizocarpon geographicum (Map Lichen) and right: Porpidia tuberculosa

Lichen list

Surveyed: 12.8.93, Recorders Don Smith & Tom Chester. Again April 2004 – Don Smith and July 2004 – RNHS meeting.

Back to Top

Acarospora fuscatachurch & perimeter wall 
Belonia nidarosiensison north wall of churchcontains the orange pigmented, long chain alga, Trentepohlia
Buellia punctatawooden picnic table topAmandinea punctata
Buellia aethaleaon a brick on north wall 
Caloplaca citrina ( of church & marble h/s 
Caloplaca flavescensW wall church 
Caloplaca holocarpachurch mortar 
Candelariella aurellachurch mortar 
Candelariella vitellinachurch & sandstone h/s 
Catillaria lenticularismarble headstones 
Cetraria chlorophyllamid E per.wallTuckermannopsis chlorophylla. Brown below, paler edge
Cladonia coccifera * ( (red fruits)headstones 
Cladonia coniocrae * (brown fruits)headstones 
Cladonia fimbriata * (brown fruits)headstones“Pixie cups”
Cladonia polydactyla * (red fruits)headstones 
Dirina massiliensis f.sorediata? 
Haematomma ochroleucum v.ochroleucumW wall church(the green colour due to the presence of usnic acid, an antibiotic)
Haematomma ochroleucum v.porphyriumeverywhere 
Hypocenomyce scalarischurch & sandstone h/s 
Hypogymnia physodesheadstones 
Hypogymnia tubulosaheadstones behind W end ch 
Lecania erysibechurch 
Lecanora albescenschurch mortar 
Lecanora caesiosorachurch & headstones 
Lecanora campestrischurch 
Lecanora conizaeoideschurch 
Lecanora dispersamortar of church & marble h/s 
Lecanora expallensheadstones 
Lecanora intricatachurch 
Lecanora orostheaheadstones 
Lecanora pannonicasouth church wall 
Lecanora polytropachurch & sandstone h/s 
Lecanora soraliferaheadstones 
Lecanora sulphureachurch 
Lecidella scabrachurch 
Lecidella stigmateachurch & perimeter wall 
Lepraria caesioalbas/s hs behind church 
Lepraria incana (“church, h/s & perimeter wall” 
Leproplaca chrysodetachurch 
Micarea denigratawest perimeter wall 
Micarea lignariaexterior seat 
Ochrolechia androgynaheadstones & perimeter wall 
Ochrolechia parellachurch“Fish-eye lichen”
Parmelia glabratula ssp.fuliginosas/s headstonesMelanelia fuliginosa
Parmelia saxatilisheadstones & perimeter wall“Black Crottle” – originally used for dyeing Harris Tweed
Parmelia subauriferaright of exterior seatMelanelia subaurifera
Parmelia sulcataheadstones 
Parmeliopsis ambiguachurch 
Pertusaria amarachurch 
Pertusaria corallinachurch & perimeter wall 
Phlyctis argenachurch 
Physcia adscendensmarble headstones 
Physcia caesiaseat of wooden table 
Platismatia glaucasandstone headstonesbrown below, paler to centre (compare Cetraria)
Polysporina simplexend S wall church 
Porpidia macrocarpaE wall church - red staining 
Porpidia soredizodeschurch 
Porpidia tuberculosaheadstones 
Protoparmelia badiaheadstones 
Pseudevernia furfuracea v.cerateaheadstonesused by Ancient Egyptians to fill mummy body cavity
Psilolechia lucidaheadstones 
Rhizocarpon geographicumSW corner of churchyard“Map Lichen”
Rinodina gennariichurch 
Rinodina teichophilaN perimeter wall 
Tephromela atrachurch 
Tephromela grumosachurch porch 
Trapelia involutaperimeter wall 
Trapelia placodioidesinner retaining wall & per.wall 
Verrucaria nigrescenschurch 
Xanthoria candelaria ( table seat rung 
Xanthoria parietinawest church wall & picnic table 
Xanthoria polycarpawooden table seat rung 

72 species

An excellent guide to the British & Irish lichens with full colour photographs is “Lichens” by Frank Dobson, obtainable in hardback or paperback, from The Richmond Publishing Co.Ltd., P.O.Box 963, Slough, SL2 3RS. Two beautiful A1 wallcharts in colour at 6 each, “Lichens & Air Pollution” (mainly inland) and “Lichens on Rocky Shores” are available from Brian Green, 3 Tyn y Coed, Carneddi, Bethseda, Gwynedd, LL57 3SF. Cheques to British Lichen Society. Worth framing!

The lichen pictures on this page are taken by Stuart Dunlop in Donegal, and used with permission. There are many other pictures of lichens as well as flowers, fungi, birds, insects etc. on his excellent site, A Donegal Hedgerow.

Top and Back to the Index page