Lichens are among the most colorful and abundant organisms in the world. They provide food and nesting material for a wide variety of wildlife, contribute nutrients to the soil, and are indicators of both undisturbed ecosystems and clean air. They lend color and pattern to trees, shrubs, and rocks, yet most people know little about them. This richly illustrated, authoritative guide to the lichens of California draws new attention to these striking and ecologically important organisms, which are symbionts—representing a relationship between a fungus and alga—and highlights their beauty, diversity, and value as a natural resource.
Lichens are especially abundant and varied in California, where climates range from temperate rainforests to arid deserts. A Field Guide to California Lichens features stunning new photographs of some 500 lichen species by award-winning nature photographer Stephen Sharnoff. Up-to-date descriptions accompany each illustration. Among the special contributions of the guide are its coverage of most common macrolichens in California and its inclusion of many of the crust-forming species. For land management professionals and scientists involved with ecosystem studies, for birders, hikers, and all others curious about the natural world around them, this book will be a welcome field companion.
"Finally . . . a guidebook covering the fantastic California lichens with beautiful, full-color photographs! Steve Sharnoff’s book will find a place in the backpacks of all lichen-lovers on the West Coast."—Irwin Brodo, coauthor of Lichens of North America
"Lichens are of great interest to the general public as well as professionals. This book will stimulate that widespread interest."—Kerry Knudsen, Lichen Curator, University of California Riverside Herbarium
"All Californians should be grateful for the appearance of this fine guide, a welcome introduction to the study of abundant but often unnoticed organisms that play such critical roles in the balance of nature."—Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
"Sharnoff has added a remarkable tool for the study of California lichens! This resource will be invaluable to professionals, amateurs, and beginners. The images are magnificent, and the information is readily accessible."—Larry St. Clair, Brigham Young University
"The Sharnoffs’ superb lichen photographs, informed by a keen understanding of the subject matter, will open the door for the curious observer onto the richly rewarding world of the cryptogams."—Diane Renshaw, Editor, Introduction to California Desert Wildflowers by Philip A. Munz