Lungwort lichen
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Wholesale Lungwort lichen

Sticta pulmonaria
plant overview
friend to old growth forests

Lungwort, also known as Lung Moss and Tree Lungwort, is a type of lichen that grows on trees. Although the species is generally rigorous, its survival is challenged by a sensitivity to environmental pollution and acid rain, not to mention the obviously adverse impact of deforestation. This is why lungwort lichen is abundant in old growth forests, although it does occur less prolifically in coastal areas and moist woodlands throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. In terms of practical use, lungwort lichen is used in beer brewing, tanning leather and to produce an orange dye. The herb is also used to make infusions, tinctures and extracts.

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Lungwort lichen

Where in the World

habitat and range for lungwort lichen

Lungwort lichen is found in North America, Europe, and Asia.

A Bit of Botany

a bit of botanical information on lungwort lichen

Lungwort lichen is a foliose lichen of the Lobariaceae family. It grows as a leaf-like thallus—meaning a plant body without differentiation between leaf and stem, and lacking true roots and a vascular system. The lichen is green, leathery, and on its upper surface is lobed with a pattern of ridges depressions. When the lichen is moist is appears bright green but when dry it becomes brownish and papery.

This lichen often has fine layers of hairs, a tomentum, on its lower surface. The cortex, the outer protective layer on the thallus surface, is roughly comparable to the epidermis of a green plant. The thallus is typically 5–15 cm in diameter, with individual lobes 1–3 cm wide and up to 7 cm long.

Lungwort lichen's asexual reproductive structures soredia and isidia are present on the thallus surface. Very small pockets of cyanobacteria (cephalodia) are often present on the lower surface of the thallus and these spots are conspicuously darker than the green surface of the thallus. Being a foliose lichen, the thallus is only loosely attached to the surface on which it grows.

common names & nomenclature
The word lemon may be Middle Eastern in its origin.

The common English names containing “lung” are in reference to the appearance of the leaves. They seem to resemble lungs and bronchi.

Also known as:
tree lungwort, oak lung, lung moss, lungwort lichen, jerusalem cowslip, lobaria pulmonaria

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing and harvesting lungwort lichen

Lungwort is found in shady woods and thickets, humid forested areas with both conifers and hardwood trees.

Lungwort is large, bright green, leaf-like lichen that grows on tree bark and mossy rocks.

Lungwort’s main method of reproducing is by granule-like masses of fungi and algae (called soredia) that form on the top surface of this lichen. These soredia break off and land on suitable surfaces, where they can grow into new lungwort lichens. On ocassion, lungwort will have spore-producing structures called apothecia that spread fungal spores. When combined with algae, these spores can grow into lungwort lichens.

Lungwort lichen requires a breathtaking 5-30 years to grow and is only found in very ancient forests. In order to maintain the population, responsible harvesters must take care that during collection the whole plant is not removed. The upper tissue edge must remain on the trunk since from this remaining 20 percent of tissue the lungwort will be able to regenerate. Not surprisingly, lungwort lichen is considered to be rare or threatened in many parts of the world.

Store dried lungwort lichen in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor,
especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.