Lungwort lichen: Where in the World
habitat and range for lungwort lichen

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

Lungwort lichen: 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

Lungwort lichen: 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.