The lichen collection is housed in the Herbarium, together with the vascular plant collections. It is a modest collection with about 700 identified specimens representing about 500 species, donated by Dr. Shirley Tucker and others. In addition, Amanda Heinrich and Philip Persons have initiated an adjunct collection of lichens at the Sedgwick Reserve that will be housed with the other specimens in the herbarium.
CCBER's lichen collection contains specimens commonly encountered in the Santa Barbara area, including the University campus (22 species), Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands, and Santa Ynez. Additional specimens from other parts of California, other states, and overseas add diversity in the form of taxa not represented in the local collection.
What Are Lichens
While lichens are not widely recognized, they are almost ubiquitous in natural environments. A familiar example is the "California Spanish moss" or "lace lichen," Ramalina menziesii, named for Archibald Menzies, one of the earliest collectors of plants and lichens in California. Each lichen is a chimera, that is, a free-living compound organism composed of a fungus and an alga combined. Lichens are generally slow-growing and long-lived.