A Role for Lichens in Botanic Gardens?

Christopher J. Ellis


Lichens are biologically diverse and ecologically important. They infuse a botanic garden with character, and are sensitive indicators for the health of our environment. Their continued recolonization of botanic gardens should be celebrated, yet is frequently greeted with trepidation. Acknowledging the under-played significance of lichens and other cryptogams, PlantNetwork organized a conference on Mosses, Ferns and Lichens in Gardens (September 2007). This article summarizes a talk presented at the PlantNetwork conference. It discusses the role of lichens in botanic gardens, and also includes general themes (aesthetics, monitoring and education) which may be applied across other cryptogam groups, for example mosses, liverworts, ferns and non-lichenized fungi.

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