Lichens are among the most colourful 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 colour 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 other curious about the natural world around them, A Field Guide to California Lichens will be a welcome field companion.
Stephen Sharnoff is research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. A renowned nature photographer best known for his contributions to the definitive reference Lichens of North America, he is currently at work on a guidebook to the wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada. He lives in Berkeley, CA.
"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 abhor pollution, shun the freshly-paved. Think to a special place you love for its wildness – the desert, a forest, a salty ocean bluff – and it's likely you can picture its lichens. Just as lichens lend the color and grace that make a good place great, Sharnoff's worshipful lichen photos make this great book unforgettable."
– Dan Gluesenkamp, Executive Director, California Native Plant Society
"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
"Steve Sharnoff is one of the top plant photographers of his generation; he combines artistry with scientific rigor. Lichens are relatively poorly known, yet extremely important ecologically and biologically. Sharnoff's love for lichens and knowledge about them shine in this beautiful book."
– Brent D. Mishler, Director, University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley
"Have you ever wondered about those colorful patches on rock, or the greenish 'moss' in trees? This authoritative guide will open up the world of lichens to you anywhere in California. A synthesis of science and art, it is not only a pleasure to read but a 'must have' for field-going amateurs and professionals alike. Don't be surprised if, after being wowed by the 500 full color photographs, helpful descriptions, and easy-to-read introduction, you want to run outside to examine the nearest tree or stone! "
– Linda Geiser, co-author of Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest