General information

The information derives from the latest checklist of the lichens of Italy by Nimis (2016), whose text followed a structure that has permitted its rapid transformation into a database that substitutes the earlier version of ITALIC (see Nimis & Martellos 2001, 2002, 2003).

Geographic distribution
Other data associated to each infrageneric taxon
........i) Growth form
........ii) Photobiont
........iii) Reproductive strategy
........iv) Substrata
........v) Commonness-rarity in the main ecoregions of Italy Altitudinal distribution (vegetation belts)
........vii) Ecological indicator values
........viii) Poleotolerance
........ix) Other information
Images of lichens
Predictive Distributional maps

- accepted name,
- reference to the accepted name, basionym and its reference,
- list of synonyms.
In the accepted names, Nimis (2016) preferred to omit all authors coming before "ex": this information, an unnecessary complication for name-users, is however provided immediately after the name.

Geographic distribution
Records are given for each administrative region of Italy, with 21 Operational Geographic Units (OGUs); the Karst area near Trieste is separated from Friuli because of its different biogeographic features. For each region, literature references are limited to papers not cited in the first checklist of Italian lichens by Nimis (1993). The regions are arranged in three artificial groups: Northern ("N"), Central ("C") and Southern ("S"). The sequence of regions is as follows (see Fig. 1). Northern Italy (N): VG (Venezia Giulia), Frl (Friuli), Ven (Veneto), TAA (Trentino-Alto Adige), Lomb (Lombardia), Piem (Piemonte), VA (Valle d'Aosta), Emil (Emilia-Romagna), Lig (Liguria). Central Italy (C): Tosc (Toscana), Marc (Marche), Umb (Umbria), Laz (Lazio), Abr (Abruzzo), Mol (Molise), Sar (Sardegna). Southern Italy (S): Camp (Campania), Pugl (Puglia), Bas (Basilicata), Cal (Calabria), Si (Sicilia>.

Fig. 1 - The 21 administrative subdivisions of Italy (abbreviations as in the main text and in Tab.1).

Other data associated to each infrageneric taxon
A few morpho-anatomical characters are included, plus info on the ecology of each species, expressed in such a way as to be searchable online in ITALIC. A much richer set of morphological data, included in the database of Project Dryades (see Martellos & Nimis 2015), is being used to generate interactive identification keys, and is not presented here.

i) Growth form
F: non-lichenized, non-lichenicolous fungus
LF: lichenicolous fungus (from genera with lichenized representatives)
Cr: crustose
Cr.end: crustose endolithic crustose placodiomorph
Lepr: leprose
Sq: squamulose
Fol: foliose
Fol.b: foliose broad-lobed (Parmelia-type)
Fol.n: foliose narrow-lobed (Physcia-type)
Fol.u: (umbilicate)
Frut: fruticose
Frut.f: fruticose filamentous.

ii) Photobiont
Ch: green algae other than Trentepohlia
Tr: Trentepohlia
Cy.h: cyanobacteria, filamentous (e.g. Nostoc, Scytonema)
Cy.c: cyanobacteria, coccaceous (e.g. Gloeocapsa)

iii) Reproductive strategy
S: mainly sexual
A.s: mainly asexual, by soredia, or soredia-like structures (e.g. blastidia)
A.i: mainly asexual, by isidia, or isidia-like structures (e.g. schizidia)
A.f: mainly asexual, by thallus fragmentation.
A.c: mainly asexual, by conidia and thalloconidia.

iv) Substrata
Epiph: bark
Sax: rocks
Lign: lignum
Terr: soil, terricolous mosses, and plant debris
Foliic: leaves.
More detailed types of substrata can be obtained using the ecological indicator values (see later). For example, for retrieving lichens on calcareous rocks the parameter "pH" should be set at "basic", on basalt at "subneutral" and on quartzite at "acid".

v) Commonness-rarity in the main ecoregions of Italy
Nine ecoregions (OGUs) were distinguished, based on several tematic maps (elevation, precipitation etc.), and also taking into account the difference between the Tyrrhenian (humid) and Adriatic (dry) part of the Peninsula, which is relevant in influencing lichen distribution in Italy (Nimis & Tretiach 1995b, 2004, Nimis & Martellos 2002). The 9 subdivisions (Fig. 2) are:
Alp - Alpine (above treeline in the Alps and in Abruzzo)
Salp - subalpine (near treeline in the Alps, oroboreal belt)
Orom - oromediterranean (above treeline outside the Alps except Abruzzo)
Mont - montane (beech forests)
SmedD - dry submediterranean (deciduous oaks, excluding SmedH)
Pad - padanian (the plains of the North): this is the only OGU which was not separated on the basis of climatical-biogeographical characters; it is the most heavily anthropised part of Italy, where several species do not occur because of pollution and/or almost total deforestation
SmedH - humid submediterranean (as SmedD, but restricted to areas with a warm-humid climate, mostly Tyrrhenian)
MedH - humid Mediterranean (mostly Tyrrhenian)
MedD - dry Mediterranean

Fig. 2 - Subdivision of Italy into 9 ecoregions. A: Alp, A1: Salp, B: Orom, C: Mon, D: SmedD, E: Pad, F: SmedH, G: MedH, H: MedD (for abbreviations see main text).

A commonness-rarity value (see later) was assigned to each species for each of the 9 OGUs. The related concepts of "commonness" and "rarity" are difficult to define, and hence intrinsically fuzzy ones. A given species might be fairly "common" in a narrow area, while it may be extremely rare when the area is made broader. For example, Cetraria islandica is fairly common in the Alps, rare along the Apennines, extremely rare in the mountains of Sicily, and certainly absent in the Po-Plain. There is obviously no sense in specifying its "commonness" nationwide. Here, commonness-rarity - as a first approximation - was calculated separately for each of the 9 phytoclimatic areas, on the basis of three main criteria: a) number of samples in the TSB lichen herbarium (% on the total for each phytoclimatic area), b) number of citations in the literature, c) an expert judgement used in particular cases (e.g. that of recently-described taxa for which few literature records are available, or taking into account the overrepresentation of epiphytic lichens in urban/industrial areas).
Commonness-rarity is expressed on a 8-class scale, as follows:
er: extremely rare
vr: very rare
r: rare
rr: rather rare
rc: rather common
c: common
vc: very common
ec: extremely common.
The "er" class was adopted for lichens which are known from less than five stations, and/or were not found in recent times, excluding most recently-described species, and taxonomically very poorly known taxa.

vi) Altitudinal distribution (vegetation belts)
The main altitudinal belts are:
1 - eu-Mediterranean belt (potential vegetation: evergreen Quercus ilex forest)
2 - submediterranean belt (deciduous Quercus-Carpinus forests)
3 - montane belt (Fagus forests, marking treeline in the Apennines)
4 - subalpine and oroboreal belts of the Alps (natural Picea abies, and Larix-Pinus cembra stands)
5 - above treeline (both Alpine and oromediterranean)
6 - nival belt of the Alps
For Sardegna, which hosts a very peculiar vegetation somehow resembling that of parts of the Iberian peninsula, where the beech belt is missing, the altitudinal subdivision was adjusted to the local situation (see Nimis 1996).

vii) Ecological indicator values
Ecological indicator values are "expert assessments" that qualitatively express the ecological range of species with respect to different factors (see e.g. Wirth 2001, 2010, Nimis & Martellos 2001). The ecological indicator values included in this book specify, for each factor and for each species, a range on a 5-class ordinal scale, as follows
pH of the substratum
1 - on very acid substrata, such as lignum and conifer bark
2 - on acid substrata, such on non-eutrophicated bark of Quercus
3 - on subacid to subneutral substrata (e.g. on bark of Sambucus)
4 - on slightly basic substrata, such as dust-covered bark
5 - on basic substrata, e.g. pure limestone
Light (solar irradiation)
1 - in very shaded situations, e.g. deep gorges, closed evergreen forests
2 - in shaded situations, such as on the northern side of boles in close-canopied deciduous forests
3 - in sites with plenty of diffuse light but scarce direct solar irradiation, such as in rather open-canopied deciduous woodlands
4 - in sun-exposed sites, but avoiding extreme solar irradiation
5 - in sites with very high direct solar irradiation, such as on the southern side of isolated boles
Xerophytism (aridity)
1 - hydro- and hygrophytic, in aquatic or marine situations, or in sites with a very high frequency of fog
2 - rather hygrophytic, intermediate between 1 and 2
3 - mesophytic
4 - xerophytic, but absent from extremely arid stands
5 - very xerophytic
Eutrophication (including deposition of dust and nitrogen compounds):
1 - not resistent to eutrophication
2 - resistent to a very weak eutrophication
3 - resistent to a weak eutrophication
4 - occurring in rather eutrophicated situations
5 - occurring in highly eutrophicated situations
The predictivity of these values was subjected to testing (Nimis & Martellos 2001), and proved to be high. However, predictivity may vary considerably among species, depending on the degree of knowledge on their ecology. For poorly known species the values are tentative, and mostly based on information available in the literature or, for species known only from the type collection, the info contained in the protologue or on the envelope of the type material. The interpretation, limitations and use of these ecological indicator values will be detailed in a forthcoming paper.

viii) Poleotolerance
This value points to the tendency of a lichen to occur in areas with different degrees of human disturbance. It is expressed on 4 classes, as follows
3 - species occurring also in heavily disturbed areas, incl. large towns
2 - species occurring also in moderately disturbed areas (agricultural areas, small settlements etc.).
1 - species mostly occurring in natural or semi-natural habitats
0 - species which exclusively occur on old trees in ancient, undisturbed forests.
Contrary to the other values, this one has been assigned to epiphytic species only, since it is useful to point out indicators of long ecological continuity of forests.

ix) Other information
Include information which is assigned to some taxa only.
Phytoclimatic range
oc - restricted to humid-warm, oceanic areas
suboc - most common in areas with a humid-warm climate (e.g. most of Tyrrenian Italy)
subc - subcontinental: restricted to areas with a dry-subcontinental climate (e.g. dry Alpine valleys, parts of Mediterranean Italy)
Parasitic or parasymbiontic, with specification of the host(s)
Taxon bound to maritime-coastal situations
Special requirements for water
u - in underhangs rarely wetted by rain
w - on otherwise dry surfaces with short periods of water seepage after rain
l - periodically submerged (e.g. in creeks)
Species of metal-rich rocks
Pioneer species
Poorly known taxon in need of further study

A project for georeferencing all samples collected in Italy from several, mainly modern herbaria was started in 2022. Dot-maps are now visible in the taxon pages of ITALIC, where the data, in Darwin Core format, can be also downloaded. The included herbaria are also searchable through the “Herbaria” query interface.

CLU - Erbario Lichenologico, Orto Botanico, Università della Calabria Via Pietro Bucci, I-87036 Arcavacata (CS) - Curator: none; contact person for the lichen section: Domenico Puntillo, email: - The lichen herbarium was started in 1984 and presently includes c. 18.000 samples, collected mainly by D. Puntillo, in various parts of Italy, especially in Calabria. There are also several exsiccata from outside Italy. Several groups have been revised by specialists.
FI - Erbario Lichenologico Fiorentino - Curators: Renato Benesperi, Elisabetta Bianchi, Luca Di Nuzzo, Dipartimento di Biologia, Via La Pira 4, I-50121 Firenze, email: - This herbarium includes specimens collected mainly in Tuscany and other parts of Italy during field excursions made by the curators since 1999, for a total of 417 samples.
GDOR - Erbario del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria. Curator: Maria Tavano, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria, Via Brigata Liguria 9, I-16121 Genova, email: - The lichen collection mainly comprises the Sbarbaro herbarium, donated by the author in 1964. It consists of more than 2.000 specimens, mainly collected in the Genoa area and the Western Ligurian Riviera between the 1930s and the 1960s. GDOR also holds numerous samples from exchanges made by Sbarbaro with foreign colleagues, such as Magnusson, Clauzade and Servit. The collection contains several types and many specimens from the loci classici, especially for species of Verrucariaceae.
GE - Herbarium Universitatis Genuensis - Curator: Luigi Minuto, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e della Vita (DISTAV), Università di Genova, Corso Europa, 26, I-16132 Genova, email: - This herbarium comprises about 80.000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens. Lichens are represented with ca. 5.000 specimens both from modern collections and from the historical Lichenoteca Cevasco, many of which were collected and identified by Camillo Sbarbaro and some of the leading European lichenologists of the first half of the 20th century. Most samples from Italy were collected in coastal and hilly areas of Liguria.
Herb. Gheza (private) - Curator: Gabriele Gheza, email: - This herbarium consists of c. 3.000 specimens collected since 2011, mostly from Lombardia, with a focus on the Ticino river valley and the Orobic Prealps and Alps. Cladonia is the most represented genus.
Herb. Nascimbene (private) - Curator: Juri Nascimbene, Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali. Università di Bologna, Via Irnerio 42, I-40126 Bologna, email: - It includes about 8.000 specimens mainly collected in recent decades in montane-alpine habitats of protected areas of the Alps, with several records also from Central (e.g. Abruzzo) and Insular Italy (e.g. Sardinia). An interesting collection is that of freshwater lichens, especially Verrucariaceae.
Herb. Ravera (private) Curator: Sonia Ravera, Università di Palermo, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche Chimiche e Farmaceutiche (STEBICEF), Via Archirafi, 38, I-90123 Palermo, email: - This private herbarium includes 5.347 samples, most of them from Central Italy, collected since 1980. There are also 819 samples from other Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Turkey, Greece,  Portugal, Spain). Most of the samples were collected and identified by Sonia Ravera.
Herb. von Brackel (private) - Curator: Wolfgang von Brackel, Kirchenweg 2, D-91341 Röttenbach, e-mail: - This herbarium, started in 1990, contains c. 9.400 samples: 3.000 lichens, 4.200 lichenicolous fungi with specification of their hosts, and 2.200 bryophytes, mainly from Bavaria and Italy (Italy: 300 lichens, 1.800 lichenicolous fungi) but also from other European countries and Greenland, almost all collected by W. von Brackel. Only samples collected in Italy are searchable in ITALIC. The complete herbarium will be transferred to Munich (M) when W. von Brackel will stop working on it.
HLUC - Herbarium Lucanum - Curators: Simonetta Fascetti, Leonardo Rosati, Giovanna Potenza. Università degli Studi della Basilicata , SAFE - Scuola di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali, Alimentari e Ambientali , Viale dell'Ateneo Lucano, 10, I-85100 Potenza, email: ; - Created in 1988 by Prof. G. De Marco and Dr. C. Colacino, the herbarium has c. 20.000 samples (c. 1.000 of which are lichens), mainly collected in Basilicata.
ORO - Flora Montis Oropae - Curators: Deborah Isocrono, Fabrizio Bottelli, Giardino Botanico di Oropa, via Sabadell 1, I-13900 Biella, email: , - Oreste Mattirolo (1856-1947), Director of the Botanical Garden of Turin, established the ORO herbarium in the early XX century to document the flora of the Oropa Valley. The main herbarium is a collection of vascular plants, while bryophytes and lichens, mainly from the Alps, were added recently. The lichen collection has 321 samples.
SI - Herbarium Universitatis Senensis - Curator: Ilaria Bonini, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita/SIMUS, Università di Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, I-53100 Siena, email: - This herbarium contains more than 100.000 dried samples (vascular plants, mushrooms, lichens, mosses, liverworts, and algae). Georeferenced lichen specimens mainly derive from recent collections, mostly from Central Italy, with a total of c. 3.100 samples collected in Italy.
TO - Herbarium Universitatis Taurinensis - Curator: Sergio E. Favero Longo, University of Torino, Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, Viale Mattioli 25, I-10125, Torino, email: - The section Cryptogamia-Lichenes includes c. 30.000 samples collected from the second half of 18th century to 1950 (Historical Section) and c. 4000 samples collected since 1978 (Modern Section). The Historical Section (not digitized yet) includes collections of some important Italian lichenologists of the "golden period" (e.g. Anzi, Baglietto, Carestia, De Notaris, etc.) and European herbaria. Samples collected in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta, in the framework of research activities of Rosanna Piervittori's group, are the core of the Modern Section, documenting the richness of lichen diversity in the NW Alps of Italy.
TSB - Herbarium Universitatis Tergestinae - Curator: M. Tretiach, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Via Giorgieri 10, I-34127 Trieste, email: - This is the largest modern lichen collection of Italy. It was started in 1984 and to date it includes c. 50.000 samples, c. 26.000 of which were collected throughout Italy, mainly by P.L. Nimis, M. Tretiach and L. Muggia.

Images of lichens
This searchable image archive is not limited to taxa occurring in Italy, as it includes also lichens and lichenicolous fungi from other parts of the World. We are grateful to all authors who have provided pictures. All pictures by F. Schumm, and those originating from the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Trieste, are released under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license, which means that they can be used for any purpose, provided that both author and license are cited. For using pictures whose license is not specified, permit should be asked to the respective authors.
The information attached to each image is limited to:
1) Taxon name
2) Author of the image, and license
3) A keyword describing the detail shown in the image (e.g. "habitus" "soredia" "spores". etc.)
4) A short note describing the image (optional)
5) The (optional) specification of the herbarium sample from which the picture was taken.
More images can be available for a single taxon.

Predictive Distributional maps
Lichens have very broad distributional ranges, almost without narrow-ranging endemics. This makes the elaboration of "predictive distributional maps" an interesting and fruitful endeavour. Such maps show the relative probability of encountering a given species in a given part of the country. Those included in this archive (Click here for an example) are automatically produced by crossing information from the database with a GIS-based map. The database provides two main types of information:
- presence/absence in the 21 administrative regions (Fig. 1).
- commoness/rarity in the 9 ecoregions of the country (Fig. 2),
The overlapping of the 9 ecoregions upon the administrative regional borders produces a map with 97 OGUs. The automatic connection between the information from the database and that map creates predictive maps for all species, where the 8 commoness-rarity classes are depicted with different shadings, with a single constraint: if a species was never reported from a region, all of its area remains white.
Predictive maps are subject to rapid change: at every updating of the general database many of them are likely to change (e.g. when a species is found as new for some regions); this gives an "added value" to the all too often underestimated floristic papers: any, even trivial, species found as new to a region contributes to a better image of its country-wide distributional pattern.
A forthcoming paper will explain the methodology in more detail, and will show how to test the predictivity of the maps against "real" distributional data (e.g. deriving from computerized herbaria and regional checklists).