Common Mosses, Liverworts, and Lichens of Ohio: A Visual Guide by Robert Klips

Lichens are fascinating organisms that cover 6-8 % of the land surface of the Earth, yet they are unknown to most people. There are more than 500 kinds of lichen found in Ohio, and over 4,000 lichen species have been described in North America.

The publication shown in the photo above, Common Lichens of Ohio Field Guide, published in 2017 by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, sparked my interest in lichens, and should be the first guide that you obtain if you would like to learn how to identify the lichens you are most likely to encounter on your travels around the Buckeye State. This guide is FREE, and may be obtained by visiting the Ohio Division of Wildlife website:

The excellent color photographs of the 56 species of lichens covered in the Common Lichens of Ohio Field Guide were taken by Robert Klips, who is an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University, where he taught for more than twenty years. After thousands of hours spent finding, studying, and photographing mosses, liverworts, and lichens in every corner of the Buckeye State, Robert Klips has now produced a new, 392-page book, Common Mosses, Liverworts, and Lichens of Ohio: A Visual Guide, which was published this month by Ohio University Press. The cover of this book is shown below.

This new guide covers 106 mosses, 30 liverworts, and 100 lichens. No fewer than 963 color photographs are included, of which 285 are images of lichens. Most of the 100 lichen species featured are accompanied by an overview photo and a close-up image of an important feature that is key to identifying the lichen. All the photos are tack-sharp and generous in size, with excellent highlight and shadow detail, taken mostly using natural lighting. Stacked focusing was used in many cases to ensure optimal depth-of-field in the images. 

Foliose lichens are grouped by color: brilliant orange and yellow, yellow-green, brown, and gray. Gray lichens are further subdivided into narrow-lobed and broad-lobed. Cyanolichens (pelts and jellies) and umbilicate lichens have their own sections, followed by branched fruticose lichens, cladoniiform fruticose lichens, and a final section on crustose and squamulose lichens. The book includes a lichen glossary, an index of common names and general index, and an index of scientific names.

An easy-to-use key is included for each lichen group, accompanied by beautiful pen-and-ink drawings and botanical illustrations by Bobbi Angell and Megan Osika. These keys are the best I have ever seen for readers (like me) who do not have an intimate knowledge of botanical terms. Each species description includes key features for identification, similar species and how to distinguish them, and notes on abundance, where the lichen occurs in Ohio, name origin, and other useful information.

Common Mosses, Liverworts, and Lichens of Ohio is available from for $39.95, or at a 20% discount ($31.96) from Ohio University Press.      


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