Lichens and Fungi

Lichens

The diversity of lichens found on Lundy is astounding, with 350 species recorded so far, of which 45 are nationally scarce or rare. The tapestries of lichen are predominantly found on heathland, trees, and granite outcrops, buttresses and walls and are in such abundance due to the clean air. Lichens are particularly sensitive to sulphur dioxide and other pollutants. They are formed by a partnership between a fungus and an alga, and are found in three forms: leafy (foliose), a crust (crustose) and bushy (fruticose).

Golden Hair Lichen, Teloschistes flavicans, is one of the rarest in the UK and as such is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. This lichen is mostly found intermingled with the Heather which lines the slopes adjacent to the Battery pathway on the West coast. 

One of the most accessible and abundant areas is Millcombe Valley where the trees are carpeted with a rich abundance of 120 different lichens. It is the perfect place to become acquainted with these flourishing communities.

Fungi

Over 500 species of fungi have been recorded on Lundy from seaweed on the coast to dung on the plateau. Fungi on Lundy can be found everywhere; however they are normally noticed by the presence of their fruiting bodies, more commonly known as mushrooms or toadstools. These can be seen all year round, depending on the species, some form fairy rings whilst others do not resemble your normal idea of a mushroom in the form of spindles such as in the Golden Fairy Spindles, Clavaria fusiformis.

The Site of Special Scientific Interest protects the fungi of Lundy, particularly the 23 species of waxcap, Hygrocybe spp. which are of particular importance. Waxcaps, and other fungi, are declining across the UK due the improvement of grassland for farming. The most colourful are the Crimson Waxcap, Hygrocybe pucinea, which can be found across the airstrip and the Scarlet Waxcap, Hygrocybe coccinae.