Q.1: Is it true that some lichens are edible?
Q.2: Are there products made from lichens?
Q.3: Are lichens used for medical products?
Q.4: How far has the DNA analysis of lichens
Q.5: Are lichens sensitive to air pollution?
Curtains in theatres and sliding doors of Japanese rooms called "fusuma" sometimes carry paintings of old pine trees and apricot trees. On their trunks are often seen features resembling Parmotrema tinctorum and Rimelia clavulifera. Painters in Edo period must have known very little about species of lichens but they surely had the knowledge through experience that when trees grow older, many lichens grow on them.
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Q. 7: How to collect lichens
Methods of collecting lichens differ according to their locations and shapes of thallus. Cladonia rangiferina and Cetraria islandica which adhere loosely to the ground surfaces can easily be collected by hands. In case of crustose lichens or lichens which adhere tightly to substrates, a tanner's knife or a buttonhole knife is used to scrape the lichen off the substrate. Lichens growing on rocks are peeled off together with a thin layer of the rock, using a hammer and a chisel. In that case, the thickness of the rock with lichen should be less than 2 cm in order to preserve it as a specimen.
Q.8: How to make specimens
After washing with water, collected items are dried and preserved as dried specimens (fig.15).
fig. 16: How to make paper bags for drying specimens
In order to dry them, the specimens are put between newspapers with a weight on them. Or, they may be put in a paper bag made of newspapers (fig.16) with some weight on them. If collected lichens are left with moisture in them, mould will grow. So the newspapers should be changed everyday until the specimens are completely dry. As for the weight, books about 2 cm thick will be suitable since too much weight may damage the specimens.
Specimens tightly attached to tree barks or rocks are preserved by pasting them on thick papers together with the substrates. In this way, damage to the specimens will be minimized.
Labels with information such as the name and the location of the collected specimen, its elevation, the date it is collected and the name of the collector written on it (fig. 17c) are pasted on the folded packets (fig. 17). Then the packets are pasted on sheets of standard herbarium papers to be stored.
fig. 17: How to make folded packets