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Abo-Khatwa et al. 1996

Abo-Khatwa, A. N., A. A. Al-Robai and D. A. Al-Jawhari (1996). "Lichen acids as uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation of mouse-liver mitochondria." Natural Toxins 4: 96-102.

Vulpinic acid extracted with benzene like procedure discribed by Abo-Khatwa et al (1996).

Letharia vulpina yeilded 1 - 5% dry weight of vulpinic acid. Identified as vulpinic acid according to: melting point (recrystallized in ethanol) 148 - 149 C; mass spectrum showed two prominent peaks at m/e 290 and 161 in addition to the molecular ion (M+) peak at m/e 322. NMR major peaks at 3.87 (strong), 7.27 (duplites, J=7.5, 1.5), 7.33, 7.41, 7.44, and 8.13 (duplites, J=8).

Vulpinic acid is an extracellular product of cellular origin deposited on the outer surface of lichen thalli. It is highly lipophilic, posesses ionizable groups and is capable of forming extensive hydrogen bonds.

Usnic acid, vulpinic acid, and atranorin caused uncoupling of oxidative phosphorlation. Usnic acid was most effective (1uM for complete uncoupling), followed by vulpinic acid (5uM), then atranorin (5uM).

Lichen acids known to affect: various microorganisms (gram positive), some vascular plants (spruce, pine, onion), bryophytes, lichen fungi, non-lichen fungi, invertabrates (snails, insects, mites), herbivore vertabrates.

Vulpinic acid acts as an uncoupler of oxadative phosphorlation, attacking mitochondria and gram-positive bacteria.

Abo-Khatwa et al. 1997

Abo-Khatwa, A. N., A. A. Al-Robai and D. A. Al-Jawhari (1997). "Isolation and identification of usnic acid and atranorin from some Saudi-Arabian lichens." Arab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research 15(1): 15-28.

Parmelia tinctorum is called Al-Sheba in Arabic, used as a food spice.


Extracted usnic acid from Usnea articulata and atranorin from Parmelia tinctorum. Soaked lichen for 5 days in chloroform for Usnea and benzene for Parmelia.

Filtered out residue with cheese cloth, and then twice with filter paper.

Evaporated chloroform/benzene solvent in a rotary evaporator.

Added ethanol and cooled overnight to 0-4C to percipitate out crystals.

Purified by recrystalization in ethanol.


Colour test with KOH, bleach, and sulfuric acid.

Elemental analysis of %C and %H using a Perkin-Elmer 240-B.

Melting point analysis.

TLC as described by Cluberson and Kristinsson (1970). 40x80mm precoated silica gel F254 plastic sheets, and developed with three solvent systems:

A: benzene - dioxane - acetic acid (90: 25: 4 v/v) B: hexane - diethyl ether - formic acid (5: 4: 1 v/v) C: toluene - acetic acid (85: 15 v/v)

Sheets were developed and examined under UV at wavelengths of 254 and 300 nm. They were also visualized by spraying with sulfuric acid and heating to 110C for 10 min. Mass spectra were recorded with E1 HX-100 mass spectrometer, using the direct inlet system (ion source temperature 270C, ionizing current 60uA, electron energy 70 eV). IR spectra were measured on a Perkin Elmer 1320 infrared spectrometer (2 mg/0.1mL chloroform).

NMR spectra were recorded with Varian EM-390 NMR spectrometer at 60 MC using CDCl3 as a solvent and 1% TMS as an internal standard.

UV spectra of benzene solutions of extracts (1 mg/mL) were compared to authentic samples with a Hitachi 100-80 spectrophotometer.

The mass spectra of a large number of lichen secondary compounds are described in: Huneck, S. 1974. Nature of lichen substances. In: The Lichens. eds. V. Ahmadjian and M. E. Hale. Academic Press, New York, pp. 495 – 522. Huneck, S., C. Djerassi, D. Becher, M. Barber, M. von Ardenne, K. Steinfelder, and R. Tummler. 1968. Massenspektrometrie und ihre anwendung auf strukturelle und stereochemische Probleme. Tetrahedron 27: 2707-2730.

Identification data for usnic acid and atranorin is described in Abo-Khatwa et al (1997).

Afolayan et al. 2002

Afolayan, A. J., D. S. Grierson, L. Kambizi, I. Madamombe and P. J. Masika (2002). "In vitro antifungal activity of some South African medicinal plants." South African Journal of Botany 68: 72-76.

Interviewed Xhosa traditional healers, Inyangas, Sangomas, and experienced rural livestock farmers that have been using herbs for the treatment of their animals for years.

They tested the antimycotic activity of 12 medicinal plant species traditionally used as an antifungal, including one lichen species, Usnea barbata.

One popular use: Used to treat mammary infections in cattle. Affected organ is washed several times with decoction of plant material

Other use: Ingestion and catarrh of the stomach of man. Method of preparation: Tincture or decoction taken orally several times daily.

Extracts from Usnea barbata showed the second highest activity against fungi of the 12 medicinal species tested.

Ahmadjian and Nilsson 1963

Ahmadjian, V. and S. Nilsson (1963). "Swedish Lichens." The American Swedish Historical Foundation and Museum [Philidelphia. Yearbook.] 1963: 38-47.

Interviews with Swedish elders, and some discussion of modern research. Several lichen species discussed. Mostly medicinal uses discussed.

Cetraria islandica used since 16th century for medicine, 600 lb sold annually in Sweden in 1963. Appetite stimulant, food for reducing diets. Coughs, colds, asthma, catarrh, whooping cough, chest ailments. Diabetes, nephritis, tuberculosis, cancer. Dried, ground, decoction. Sold commercially. Also used for pig feed, and as famine food. Called Islandslav. Cows mild better if fed lichen. In 1900’s was overharvested, so picking was forbidden unless used for human food. Government issued pamphlets on what lichens to eat and how to prepare them.

Usnic acid from lichen marketed commercially for bacterial and fungal skin diseases and tuberculosis. Tradenames Usno (Finland), Usniplant (Germany), Binan (Russia)

Parmelia saxatilis called stenlav. Used to remove warts. Brown boiling water dye.

Usnea spp. used for foot blisters

Cetraria islandica, Cladina rangiferina, Cladina silvatica, Cladina alpestris, Nephroma arcticum, and Stereocaulon known by Saami as reindeer food.

Airaksinen et al. 1986

Airaksinen, M. M., P. Peura, L. Ala-Fossi-Salokangas, S. Antere, J. Lukkarinen, M. Saikkonen and F. Stenbäck (1986). "Toxicity of plant material used as emergence food during famines in Finland." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 18: 273-296.

Cetraria islandica has been commonly eaten in Scandinavia, particularly in Norway and Iceland, less often in Finland. Reindeer lichen (Cladonia spp.) was eaten more rarely. Eaten not only in times of hardship, but also as a dessert jelly instead of potatoe starch. It is particularly good with acidic berries like cranberry that mask its slightly acrid taste. It was used as an emergency food for humans and livestock in northern Europe, especially Norway, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. In Iceland the Jónsbók (law book) in 1280 mentions ‘gros’ (lichen, probably Cetraria spp. and Cladonia spp.) as a natural product that could not be collected without landowner permission. In Norway Cetraria islandica was called brödmose or broedmåså (bread moss), matmåså (food moss), or svinmåså (swine moss). But usually considered to good for animal fodder, and would have used Cladonia for that instead. Cetraria nivalis may sometimes have been collected with it. The last major collection of Iceland and reindeer moss in Finland and Sweden happened during WWI at the recommendation of the authorities.

Cetraria islandica contains lichen acids that make bread made from it bitter. It was soaked in a basic solution to remove this flavor. Traditionally the lichen was soaked in a 2% solution (thick enough to make a potato float) of birch ash. Later 0.5-1% solution of sodium or potassium carbonate was used. After removing needles of pine and the lower part of the lichen it was soaked in solution for 1-5% days. After rinsing and drying, it was ground. Cooking it for 10 min has been recommended as a pretreatment method. The pretreatments of lichen decrease its weight, and 2 kg of dry lichen produces 1 kg of processed flour. The flour was used for making bread, but also for other dishes like gruel and porridge. When bread was made, meal of rye or oats was added to improve the dough. The lichenin and isolichenin easily form a gel, and this property ment it was used for preparing desserts.

Presently Cetraria islandica is sold in health food stores in Sweden and Finland for use as an expectorant, appetizer and roborant, and to soften the gut contents. It contains mainly fumarprotocetraric and alloprotocesteric acids, a very little usnic acid.

Cetraria islandica is 50-80% carbohydrate, 3% protein, 2.6% fat, 0.75% Vitamin C (a lot!). The carbohydrate was lichenin and isolichenin, after hydrolysis 97% glucose, galactose, and mannose. Not much ash (1-2%) compared to higher plants, not much calcium, but high in ash concentrations of some elements such as aluminum, iron, nickel, Co, Cr, F, As. Absorbs some toxic elements from the environment, particularly high in lead, but also Cd and Hg. The natural radionuclides Po-210 and Pb-210 both accumulate in lichen, as well as Cs-137 and Sr-90 from nuclear test explosions. Reindeer lichen has similar composition, but less carbohydrate.

Cetraria islandica toxic to mice at 50% concentration (w/w), gastrointestinal symptoms. A little less toxic if boiled for 10 minutes, and a bit better than that if soaked in wood ash solution for two days. If both treatments were done, not near as toxic, but still killed the if fed it in high concentrations for extended periods.

Traditionally people would eat about 50% v/v which is about 25% w/w. Lichen was fed at 25% w/w, after soaking for 2 days in ash water, boiling for 10 minutes, and drying. Rats tolerated this quite well. But may have shown some signs of heavy metal poisenning from lead in the lichen.

Reindeer lichen (Cladonia spp.) was eaten more rarely in Scandinavia, not as often as Cetraria islandica. Cladonia rangiferina, Cladonia silvatica, and Cladonia alpestris were all used for food in extreme times.

If lichens are not stored dry they may start to ferment. In Sweden in 1871 115,000 kg of reindeer lichen were used to make a total of 5500 L of spirits.

Presently Cladonia alpestris is collected and sold for decorative purposes in Sweden and Finland.

Reindeer lichen contains usnic acid.

Reindeer lichen has similar nutritional composition to Cetraria islandica, but less carbohydrate

Reindeer lichen toxic to mice, gastrointestinal symptoms within 3 days of being fed 50% (w/w) lichen, even when soaked in wood ash solution and boiled.

Anderson 1925

Anderson, J. R. (1925). Trees and Shrubs: Food, medicinal, and poisonous plants of British Columbia. Victoria, BC, Charles F. Banfield.

Anderson 2005

Anderson, M. K. (2005). Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources. Berkley, California, University of California Press.

Anonymous 2000

Anonymous (2000). "Patent Number 6132984."

Patented use of vulpinic acid, by TerraGen Discovery Inc., inventors Julian E. Davies, Barbara Waters, and Geeta Saxena

Antúnez de Mayolo 1989

Antúnez de Mayolo, K. K. (1989). "Peruvian natural dye plants." Economic Botany 43: 181-191.

Peruvian people use an infusion of Parmelia cirrhata is used to produce a beige-yellow dye for traditional textiles (Mullins, 1973; cited in Antúnez de Mayolo, 1989: pg 188)

Also used thalli of Ramalina spp. to produce a yellow dye (Herrera 1941; cited in Antúnez de Mayolo, 1989: pg 189)

Antúnez de Mayolo, 1989: pg 189 Teloschistes flavicans (Sw.) Norm. A mixture of two subspecies, Teloschistes vermicularis spp. solida (Sato) R. Sant. var. subsolida (Sato) R. Sant. and Teloschistes vermicularis spp. solida (Sato) R. Sant. var. solida (R. Santesson, per. comm.) is used to produce a yellow to orange dy by the weavers of San Pedro de Cajas (Junin).

Usnea barbata is used to yield a dark blue dye. (Lira 1940; cited in Antúnez de Mayolo, 1989: pg 189)

Parmelia, Teloschistes, and Usnea dye use previously reviewed in Antúnez 1976, 1977.

All dyes were tested by the author.

Arendt 1872

Arendt, R. (1872). "Lichen spirits." The Chemical News and Journal of Physical Science 26: 118.

This is a summary of the original paper published in 1872 in Chemisches Centralblatt vol. 34.

The process of making spirits from mosses and lichens, discovered by the Swedish, is now used in the northern provinces (Archangel, Pskow, Nowgorod, etc.) in Russia, the brandy exhibited by various distillers at the Russian Industrial Exhibition and was of high quality and especially liked by the English and French. It is a very lucrative industry, yielding 40% to 100% profits.

Arnason et al. 1981

Arnason, T., R. J. Hebda and T. Johns (1981). "Use of plants for food and medicine by Native Peoples of eastern Canada." Canadian Journal of Botany 59: 2189-2325.

The Iroquois rarely ate lichens, but in an emergency they would. The lichens were scraped from a tree or rock, boiled in grease; washed in ashes and water to remove bitterness before cooking. They called lichens gustaot one”ta’. Parker (1910) cited in Arnason et al (1981).

Stowe (1940) says that the Ojibwa ate moss (lichen?) growing on white pine. They dried, boiled, and used in fish or meat broth. Cited in Arnason et al (1981).

The Ojibwa used Cladina rangiferina. Reagan 1928

The Iroquois used Sticta amplissima, "mushrooms cooked and reduced to a porridge". Parker 1910

The Ojibwa called Sticta amplissima jîngwakons wakun, the lichens found at the base of old white pine were boiled until they are like scrambled eggs. Smith 1932.

Nutritional constituents are reported for Cladonia rangiferina and Cetraria islandica

Cladina rangiferina is called asa'gunink by the Ojibwa. Used to wash newborn baby: boil moss, use water in bath. Smith 1932

Gyrophora dillenni is called asine-wakunik by the Cree (Tête-de-Boule), used for difficult childbirth, plant placed on stomach. Raymond 1945.

Parker, A. C. 1910. Iroquois uses of maize and other plant foods. Bull. N. Y. State Mus. 144.

Raymond, M. 1945. Notes ethbotaniques sur les Tête-de-Boule de Manouan. Contributions de l'Institut Botanique de l'Universite de Montreal, 55: 113-134.

Reagan, A. B. 1928. Plants used by the Bois Fort Chippewa. Wisconsin Archaeologist (New Series), 7(4): 230-248.

Smith, H. H. 1932. Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4(3): 327-525.

Stowe, G. C. 1940. Plants used by the Chippewa. Wisc. Archaeol. (New Series), 21: 8-13

Aslan et al. 2001

Aslan, A., M. Güllüce and E. Atalan (2001). "A study of antimicrobial activity of some lichens." Bulletin of Pure and Applied Sciences 20B(1): 23-26.

Lichen extracts found to be active against several species of gram positive bacteria, but not against gram negative or one microfungi. Distilled water extracts were not effective, chloroform, acetone, and petrol ether were effective.

Aslan et al. 1999

Aslan, A., M. Güllüce and H. Ögütçü (1999). "An investigation on the antimicrobial activity of some lichens." Biyoteknoloji Dergisi 22(2): 19-26.

In Turkish with an English summary.

Ten lichens were tested for antimicrobial activities. These lichens were: Hypogymnia physodes, Cetraria islandica, Cetraria pinastri, Parmelia sulcata, Pseudevernia furfuracea, Lobaria pulmonaria, Cladonia furcata, Cladonia convoluta, Cladonia pyxidata, Ramalina capitata.

Extracts generally found to be active against gram positive bacteria, but not against gram negetive or fungi. Cladonia pyxidata, Cladonia convoluta, and Parmelia sulcata were found to have the strongest antimicrobial activity. Lobaria pulmonaria was found to have no activity.

Azenha et al. 1998

Azenha, G., T. Iturriaga, F. I. Michelangeli and E. Rodriguez (1998). "Ethnolichenology, biochemical activity, and biochemistry of Amazonian lichen species." Emanations from the Rainforest 1(1): 8-14.

Beaglehole and Beaglehole 1935

Beaglehole, E. and P. Beaglehole (1935). "A note on Hopi sorcery." Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association 44(Hopi of the Second Mesa): 5-10.

A First Mesa medicine woman (Hopi) used yellow rock fungus as a cure. It is applied to the cheeks to reduce swelling for toothache and swelling in the mouth

Beeson et al. 1972

Beeson, W. M., H. R. Bird, E. W. Crampton, G. K. Davis, R. M. Forbes, L. E. Harris, L. E. Hanson, J. K. Loosli, J. E. Oldfield, A. D. Tilman, J. R. Aitken, J. M. Bell, L. W. McElroy, W. J. Pidgen and W. D. Morrison (1972). Atlas of nutritional data on United States and Canadian feeds. Washington, D. C., National Academy of Sciences.

Bhattarai 1999

Bhattarai, N. K. (1999). "Medicinal plants and the Plant Research Division of Nepal." Medicinal Plant Conservation 5: 7-8.

Out of the 100 species of medicinal plant harvested in Nepal, the Nepal government has banned the unprocessed export of 9 of them, including 2 lichens Usnea barbata and Parmelia nepalensis.

Bhattarai et al. 1999

Bhattarai, T., D. Subba and R. Subba (1999). "Nutritional value of some edible lichens of East Nepal." Journal of Applied Botany 73: 11-14.

Biswas 1956

Biswas, K. (1956). Common Medicinal Plants of Darjeeling and the Sikkim Himalayas. Alipore, West Bengal, India, Supt., Govt. Print., West Bengal Govt. Press.

Blankinship 1905

Blankinship, J. W. (1905). "The native economic plants of Montana." Bulletin - Montana State College, Agricultural Experiment Station 56: 1-38.

Alectoria fremontii: "Black moss"; "Tree moss" A long, black, hair-like lichen common on various species of conifers in the mountains, used by the Indians as a famine food. Cattle said to be "Poisoned" by feeding upon it to excess in early spring. Said to be neither palatable nor very nutritious. De Smet 117; Dodge 424; Coville 87.

Evernia vulpina: "tree moss" Employed by the Indians in some sections for making clothing and bedding, as a yellow dye, a yellow paint, and for reducing inflamation of ulcers. Newberry 41; Coville 88; Chesnut 300.

Chesnut, V. K. Plants used by the Indians of Medicino County, California. Cont. U. S. Nat. Herb. 7: 295-408. Washington, 1892. (1902?)

Coville, F. V. Notes on the plants used by the Klamath Indians of Oregon. Cont. U. S. Nat. Herb. 5: 87-108. Washington, 1897. Contributions from the U. S. National Herbarium

De Smet, P. J. Oregon missions and travels over the Rocky Mountains in 1845-46. New York, 1847. Pp. 412.

Dodge, J. R. Food products of the North American Indians. Rep. U. S. Com. Agr. 1870: 404-428. Washington, 1871.

Newberry, J. S. Food and fiber plants of the North American Indians. Pop. Sci. Month. 32: 31-46. New York, 1888.

Boas and Tate 1916

Boas, F. and H. W. Tate (1916). Tsimshian Mythology. Bureau of American Ethnology, 31st Annual Report, 1909-1910. Washington, D. C., Smithsonian Institution.

Bouchard and Kennedy 1977

Bouchard, R. and D. I. D. Kennedy (1977). "Lillooet Stories." Sound Heritage 4(1): 1-78.

Bourne and Allen 1935

Bourne, G. and R. Allen (1935). "Vitamin C in lower organisms." Nature 136: 185-186.

Lichens contain vitamin C, some in the algal cells, but mostly concentrated in the centre of the fungal hyphae.

Brodo et al. 2001a

Brodo, I. M., S. D. Sharnoff and S. Sharnoff (2001a). Chapter 10: Lichens and People. Lichens of North America. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Brodo et al. 2001b

Brodo, I. M., S. D. Sharnoff and S. Sharnoff (2001b). Lichens of North America. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Brooker and Cooper 1962

Brooker, S. G. and R. C. Cooper (1962). New Zealand medicinal plants. Aukland, Unity Press Ltd.

Brooker et al. 1987

Brooker, S. G., R. C. Cooper and R. C. Cambie (1987). New Zealand Medicinal Plants. Aukland, N. Z., Heinemann.

Brough 1984

Brough, S. G. (1984). "Dye characteristics of British Columbia forest lichens." Syesis 17: 81-94.

Brough 1988

Brough, S. G. (1988). "Navajo lichen dyes." Lichenologist 20(3): 279-290.

Burkholder et al. 1944

Burkholder, P. R., A. W. Evans, I. McVeigh and H. K. Thornton (1944). "Antibiotic activity of lichens." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 30(9): 250-255.

Extracts from 27 out of 42 different species of lichens in eastern North America were found to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria.

Burton and Cain 1959

Burton, J. F. and E. R. Cain (1959). "Antileukaemic activity of polyporic acid." Nature 184: 1326-1327.

Cabrera 1996

Cabrera, C. (1996). "Medicinal plants of the Pacific North West." The European Journal of Herbal Medicine 2(2): 11-19.

Materia Medica on Usnea spp., as well as 4 other common plants.

Reviews medicinal uses of Usnea hirta, U. barbata, U. florida, and U. longissima. Traditional uses, harvesting, preparation, and chemical constituents briefly reviewed

Carlson and Flett 1989

Carlson, B. F. and P. Flett (1989). "Spokane Dictionary." Occasional Papers in Linguistics (Unversity of Montana) 6.

Letharia vulpina s-c-kwr-n=ecst


Black tree lichen




Moss (yellow green tree) mtr7=alqw

Rock moss (Selaginella wallacei hieron): c-qwsqws-p=essn

Ground moss: n-qwspws-p=ule7xw

Casselman 1999

Casselman, K. D. (1999). Lichen dyes & dyeing: A critical bibliography of European and North American literature in a culturally marginalized field, St. Mary's University.

Chamberlain 1892

Chamberlain, A. F. (1892). Report on the Kootenay Indians of Southeastern British Columbia. Eighth Report on the Northwestern Tribes of Canada, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Edinbergh Meeting.

Chamberlain 1901

Chamberlain, L. S. (1901). "Plants used by the Indians of eastern North America." The American Naturalist 35: 1-10.

The Huron boiled Tripe de roche (Umbilicaria) and used it as food (Radisson 1885: pg 142, cited in Chamberlain 1901)

Chandra and Singh 1971

Chandra, S. and A. Singh (1971). "A crude lichen drug (chharila) from India." Journal of Research in Indian Medicine 6: 209-215.

Chharila is a lichen crude drug sold in Indian bazars and used in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. Three lichens are called this: Parmelia perlata, Parmelia perforata, and Parmelia cirrhata. Parmelia cirrhata has been known to Mohemmadans for centuries. It is used as a carminative and aphrodesiac. The smoke of chharila is believed to relieve headaches. When powdered it is applied on wounds, and considered to be a good cephalic snuff. It has also been considered useful in dyspepsia, spermatorrhoea, amonorrhoea, calculi, diseases of the blood and heart, stomach disorders, enlarged spleen, bronchitis, bleeding piles, scabies, leprosy, excessive salivation, soreness of the throat, toothache, and pain in general. Parmelia perlata contains atranorin and lecanolric acid, Parmelia perforata contains azeorin, atranorin, and lecanolric acid, and Parmelia cirrhata contains atranorin and protolichestric acid. The drug when analysed only contained Parmelia cirrhata and Parmelia perforata. And about 50% of it was other lichens, perhaps just adulterants, Leptogium spp., Parmelia hyporysalea, Ramalina spp., Usnea spp., and Anaptychia spp.

Chesnut 1902

Chesnut, V. K. (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Contributions from the U. S. National Herbarium Vol. VII. Systematic and Geographic Botany, and Aboriginal Uses of Plants. Washington, Government Printing Office. 7: 295-408.

Christensen and Sipman 1998

Christensen, S. N. and H. J. M. Sipman (1998). "Silver moss - ornamental lichens from Brazil." British Lichen Society Bulletin 82: 11-13.

Cocchietto et al. 2002

Cocchietto, M., N. Skert, P. L. Nimis and G. Sava (2002). "A review on usnic acid, an interesting natural compound." Naturwissenschaften 89(4): 137-146.


Compton 1993

Compton, B. D. (1993). Upper North Wakashan and Southern Tsimshian Ethnobotany: The Knowledge and Usage of Plants and Fungi among the Oweekeno, Hanaksiala (Kitlope and Kemano), Haisla (Kitamaat) and Kitasoo Peoples of the Central and North Coasts of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC, University of British Columbia. PhD thesis.

Coppins and Watling 1994

Coppins, B. J. and R. Watling (1994). "Lichenized and non-lichenized fungi: Folklore and fact." Botanical Journal of Scotland 47(2): 249-261.

Correche et al. 2002

Correche, E., M. Carrasco, F. Giannini, M. Piovano, J. Garbarino and D. Enriz (2002). "Cytotoxic screening activity of secondary lichen metabolites." Acta Farmaceutica Bonaerense 21(4): 273-278.

Coville 1897

Coville, F. V. (1897). "Notes on the plants used by the Klamath Indians of Oregon." United States Department of Agriculture. Division of Botany. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 5(2): 87-106.

Page 87-88


Alectoria fremontii Tuckerm.

A lichen consisting of slender black threads hanging in masses often a foot in length from the branches of trees in the pine forests, particularly abundant on the black or lodge-pole pine, Pinus murrayana. The plant was sometimes used in former years as a famine food. To the present white inhabitants of the region it is commonly known as "black moss."

Evernia vulpina (L.) Ach.

Shwa´-wi-säm. A bright yellow lichen, often called "yellow moss," which grows in abundance on the trunks of yellow pine and other trees. Porcupine quills obtained from the Modocs are immersed in a decoction of this lichen and take on a beautiful bright yellow permanent stain. These quills are then interwoven into baskets to form any yellow pattern desired.

Crittenden and Porter 1991

Crittenden, P. D. and N. Porter (1991). "Lichen forming fungi: Potential sources of novel metabolites." Trends in Biotechnology 9: 409-414.

Crum 1993

Crum, H. (1993). "A lichenologist's view of lichen manna." Contributions from the University of Michigan Herbarium 19: 293-306.

It is unlikely that a lichen supported all of the children of Israel for 40 years, as suggested in the books of Exodus and Numbers, but a lichen may have been where the idea of manna from heaven came from. Manna is described as a small, round thing, as small as hoar frost on the ground, resembling coriander seed and white. It was baked to be eaten.

A tradition in eastern Persia that Alexander’s army, in 330-327 BC, was saved from starvation by eating Aspicilia esculata. The lichen can break loose from its substrate and blow around. In violent wind storms it can acumulate suddenly and in great quantity. Large lichen falls were recorded in central Turkey, Armenia, and northern Persia in 1824, 1828, 1829, 1846, and 1890. These falls sometimes occurred during famines and were appreciated as a famine food.

It was mentioned as an ingredient to make wine and medicinal compounds in Arabic writing in the 9th to thirteenth centuries. Mixed with flour and made into bread in steppes of southern USSR. Uncommonly used in N America as ingredient of bread, eaten raw, or parched with or without oil. Used by some in Libya as famine food during WWII.

Often used by Libyan shepards to graze their sheep on. Especially in times of drought. Call it torba, may erect cairns so they can locate good lichen patches, sometimes harvest the lichen and bring it back to their sheep. The Bedouin sheep herders raise goats and sheep on the lichen, which they call trub. They claim that all a sheep needs is trub and water.

Nutrient analysis show 23% starch and 66% calcium oxalate, or 11% starch and 60% calcium oxalate. Mostly lichenin, no isolichenin. Not really any secondary compounds. Probably secretes oxalic acid from hyphae, causing calcium oxalate to form as an insoluble extracellular deposit.

lichenin is dissolvable in hot water, isolichenin in cold water.

Lichen been reported to accumulate up to 20 or 30 cm high, but generally evenly and sparcely distributed.

In Cyrenaica in the 11th century it was collected and fermented with honey as a drink.

Other species of Aspicilia that are reffered to as Aspicilia esculenta that grow in the same areas are Aspicilia jussufii, Aspicilia vagans, and Aspicilia fruticulosa.

Curtin 1949

Curtin, L. S. M. (1949). By the Prophet of the Earth: Ethnobotany of the Pima. Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona Press.

Cutright 1969

Cutright, P. R. (1969). Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists. Urbana, University of Illinois Press.

Darias et al. 1986

Darias, V., L. Bravo, E. Barquín, D. Martin Herrera and C. Fraile (1986). "Contribution to the ethnopharmacological study of the Canary Islands." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 15: 169-193.

Roccella canariensis, Roccella vilentina, Roccella tuberculata all called Orchilla. Roccella fuciformis called Alican or Jaican. Thallus used for purple dye. Very important commercially, places are named Orchilla, and the islands themselves were sometimes called Islas Purpurarias.

Usnea atlantica and Usnea spp. were called barbas, thallus used as disinfectant.

Darias et al. 1993

Darias, V., L. Bravo, C. C. Sánchez-Mateo and E. Barquín (1993). "Study of the tinctorial species of flora of the Canary Islands." Acta Horticulturae 333: 283-285.

Roccella canariensis, Roccella vilentina, Roccella tuberculata all called Orchilla. Roccella fuciformis called Alican or Jaican. Important from 15th – 17th century.

Davis and Yost 1983

Davis, E. W. and J. A. Yost (1983). "Novel hallucinogens from eastern Ecuador." Botanical Museum Leaflets [Harvard University] 29(3): 291-295.

The Waorani of eastern Ecuador use a lichen as a hallucinigen in shamanistic rituals. In Waorani custum, the shaman, or ido, takes hallucingenic drugs in order to call on wenae (malevolant spirits) to curse someone else. Only he can lift the curse. Two hallucingens are used, one made from the plant mii (Banisteriopsis muricata) and one from this lichen.

The lichen is extremely rare. It is an undiscribed species of Dictyomena with a white hymenial layer and a bright green/blue upper surface. The Waorani call it ne/ne/ndape/ (the slash is through the e) (a name which is also applied to some other fungi). To make the drug for casting curses it is put into an infusion with various other bryophytes to make a drug called kigiwai, and causes headaches and extreme confusion when drank. It was last used like this around 1900. Ne/ne/ndape/ also is reported to cause sterility and may be put into a child’s drink to make her barren.

Dawson 1891

Dawson, G. M. (1891). "Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia." Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Section 2 Part I: 3-44.

Lichen summary: An account from Mr. J. M. Macoun: Bryoria fremontii collected of Larix occidentalis, and thoroughly washed. Hole 10 feet square and 2 feet deep dug. Light large fire in bottom, put rocks on top, and let burn down for several hours. Cover rocks with sand, then with 1 foot of maple and alder boughs, then skunk cabbage, then sheets of tamarack bark. Food place on top of this, several bark baskets full of bulbs, and several bundles of Bryoria fremontii that had bulbs piled on top of them. All covered with boughs and leaves, then bark, and then a few inches of sand. Large fire then lit on top and allowed to burn all night. Allowed to cool for a day and then dug up. The bulbs mixed with “lichen would have united with it to form a solid substance resembling black plug tobacco in colour and consistency, which could be broken up and kept sweet for a long time."

Called wi-luh by the Secwepemc, and wi-uh by the Nlaka’pmx. Abundant in higher areas. Collected by women, twigs and bark removed, then washed in water. Surrounded by leaves, etc., placed in a hole in the ground and a fire is made above it. The roasting continues for a night, after which it comes out as a flat black mass, which is eaten and said to taste very sweet. The lichen may be gathered at any season

Also eaten by the Tsilhqot’in. (uses name Tinneh, which is also a more general name referring to the entire Athapaskan language group. In this sense of the word, the Dakehl would be most likely. However, elsewhere in report says that Tinneh = Tsilhqot’in.

Letharia vulpina called ta-kwul-a-muk'oo by the Secwepemc. Abundant above 3000 feet, boiled in water for dye for hair and cloth.

Ethnobotany starts page 17.

Excerpt from page 18-19:

The following excellent description of the mode of cooking the camass in this district is given by Mr. J. M. Macoun. It will serve equally to explain the process of cooking roots of other kinds: --

"The bulbs were collected by the Indians before the seed was fully matured, at which time they considered them at teir best. The party I speak of had between twenty and twenty-five bushels of them at the lowest estimate. For two or three days before cooking was begun, the women of the party were engaged in cutting and carrying to camp branches of the alder and maple (Alnus rubra and Acer glabrum). Several bundels of the broad leaves of Lysichitun Kamtschatcense (skunk-cabbage), and two or three of Alectoria jubata), the black hair-like lichen that grows in profusion on Larix occidentalis, had been brought with them.

"Everything being ready, the men of the party cut down a huge pine for no other object, apparently, than to obtain its smaller branches, as no other portion of it was used. A hole about ten feet square and two deep was then dug in a gravelly bank near the lake shore, which was filled with broken pine branches. Upon these were piled several cords of dry cedar and pine, and this was covered over with small boulders. The pile was then lighted in several places, and left for some hours to take care of itself. When the Indians returned to it the stones lay glowing among a mass of embers. The few unburnt pieces of wood which remained near the edges were raked away, and the women with wooden spades banked up the sides of the pile with sand, throwing enough of it over the stones to fill up every little crevice through which a tongue of flame might be thrust up from the coals that still burned beneath the stones. Then the whole was covered with the maple and alder boughs to the depth of a foot or more after they had been well trampled down. Over these were placed the wide leaves of the skunk-cabbage until every cranny was closed. Sheets of tamarac-bark were then spread over the steaming green mass, and upon these the bulbs were placed. About half of them were in bark baskets closed at the mouth, and each holding about a bushel and a half. These were carried to the centre of the pile. The lichen of which I have spoken was then laid over the unoccupied bark, having been well washed first, and over it were strewn the bulbs that remained. The whole was then covered with boughs and leaves as before and roofed with sheets of bark. Upon this three or four inches of sand was thrown, and over all was heaped the material for another fire, larger even that the first one. When this was lighted the sun was just setting, and it continued to burn all night.

"The next morning our camp was moved away, and I was unable to see the results of the day's labour. I was told, however, by one of the Indians who could speak a little English, that their oven would be allowed a day in which to cool, and that when opened the bulbs in the baskets would hace 'dissolved to flour,' from which bread could be made, while those mixed with the lichen would have united with it to form a solid substance resembling black plug tobacco in colour and consistency, which could be broken up and kept sweet for a long time."

Excerpt from page 20-21

The black hair-like lichen (Alectoria jubata), which grows abundantly on the higher plateaux and mountains upon trees in thick woods, is eaten by the Shuswap people as by the Tinneh to the north. It is called wi-luh by the Shoo-wha'-pa-mooh, and wi-uh by the N-tla-ka-pe-mooh. Having been collected by the women, it is first freed from twigs and bark and washed in water. Then, surrounded by leaves, etc. it is placed in a hole in the ground and a fire is made above it. The roasting continues for a night, after which it comes out as a flat black mass, which is eaten and said to taste very sweet. The lichen may be gathered at any season.

The yellow lichen (Evernia vulpina), generally found in abundance on the trees at elevations exceeding 3,000 feet above the sea in the southern interior of British Columbia, was formerly used as a dye-stuff for hair, cloth, etc. It was boiled in water to extract the colouring matter, and is named ta-kwul-a-muk'oo by the Shoo-wha-pa-mooh.

A black dye is said to be obtained from the root of a fern which grows in damp places (either Asplenium felix-faemina or Aspidium munilum).

Tinneh = either specifically Tsilhqot'in or generally the Athapaskan language group

de Smet 1847

de Smet, P. J. (1847). Oregon missions and travels over the Rocky Mountains in 1845-46. New York.

Diachkov and Kursanov 1945

Diachkov, N. H. and A. R. Kursanov (1945). "The carbohydrate composition of lichens of the Kola Peninula considered with the problem of glucose production in northern localities." Comptes Rendus (Doklady) de l'Académic des Sciences de l'URSS 46(2): 66-68.

The lichens Cetraria islandica, Cetraria nivalis, Alectoria ochroleuca, Cladina alpestris, Cladina mitis, Cladonia deformis, Peltigera, and Stereocaulon paschale are analyzed for using to make molasses in the Kola peninsula in Russia.

Dikhtyarenko et al. 2001

Dikhtyarenko, V. V., M. Y. Safonova, V. V. Safonov, E. E. Lesiovskaya and E. I. Sakanyan (2001). "The influence of Cetraria islandica (L.) Ach. thalli and Caragana spinosa (L.) Vahl ex Hornem. annal shoots dry extracts on the development of experimental stomach ulcer in rats." Rastitel 'nye Resursy 37(2): 51-56.

In Russian with English summary Dry extracts of Cetraria islandica and Caragana spinosa annual shoots showed antiulcer effect on different stomach damages in the experiments on rats.

Drummond 1861

Drummond, A. T. (1861). "On the economical uses of Sticta pulmonaria Hoffm." Annals of the Botanical Society of Canada 1: 81-84.

Duff 1952

Duff, W. (1952). The Upper Stalo Indians of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. Victoria, BC, Anthropology in British Columbia, Memoir No. 1, British Columbia Provincial Museum.

Dumbeck 1945

Dumbeck, I. (1945). Unpublished word lists. Originals held by Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus, Gonzaga University, Spokane (microfilm copy available in B. C. Provincial Archives, Victoria). Cited in Turner et al. 1980.

Eidlitz 1969

Eidlitz, K. (1969). Food and Emergency Food in the Circumpolar Area. Uppsala, Sweden, Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckert AB.

Ellis et al. 1933

Ellis, N. R., L. J. Palmer and G. L. Barnum (1933). "The vitamin content of lichens." Journal of Nutrition 6(5): 334-454.

Found vitamin A and vitamin D. Failed to record Vitamin B in feeding experiments, but Lal shows considerable riboflavin.

Elmendorf 1935-1936

Elmendorf, W. W. (1935–1936). Lakes Salish Ethnographic Notes. Unpublished Field Notes, original held by Dr. W. W. Elmendorf, Department of Anthropology, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc. (photoduplicated copy in British Columbia Indian Language Project files, Victoria). Cited in Turner et al. 1980.

Fernald and Kinsey 1958

Fernald, M. L. and A. C. Kinsey (1958). Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York, Harper & Row, Publishers.

Fernández et al. 1996

Fernández, E., W. Quilhot, I. Gonsález, M. E. Hidalgo, X. Molina and I. Meneses (1996). "Lichen metabolites as UV-B filters." Cosmetics and Toiletries 111: 69-74.

Foden et al. 1975

Foden, F. R., J. McCormick and D. M. O'Mant (1975). "Vulpinic acids as potential antiinflammatory agents. 1. Vulpinic acids with substituents in the aromatic rings." Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 18(2): 199-203.

Forlines et al. 1992

Forlines, D. R., T. Tavenner, J. C. S. Malan and J. J. Karchesy (1992). "Plants of the Olympic Coastal Forests: Ancient knowledge of materials and medicines and future heritage." Basic Life Sciences 59: 767-782.

Reviews ethnobotany in the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, and draws on information from one informant, David Forlines. Looks at dyes and medicines, and reviews information on polyphenol content of some of these plants.

Lobaria pulmonaria is called "Frog-skin lichen" and is used to make a red orange dye.

Franchére 1820

Franchére, G. (1820). Relation d'un voyage à la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique septentrionale dans les années 1810, 11, 12, 13, et 14 [Translation: Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814]. Original publication: Montréal, De l'impr. de C.B. Pasteur. Translated by Jedediah Vincent Huntington and republished 1854, New York, Redfield.

Freeman 1967

Freeman, M. M. R. (1967). "An ecological study of mobility and settlement patterns among the Belcher Island Eskimo." Arctic 20(3): 154-175.

Cladonia rangiferina was used by the Belcher Island Eskimo as fuel. It burned with an intense, short lived flame.

Fukuoka et al. 1968

Fukuoka, F., M. Nakanishi, S. Shibata, Y. Nishikawa, T. Takeda and M. Tanaka (1968). "Polysaccharides in lichens and fungi. II. Anti-tumor activities on sarcoma-180 of the polysaccharide preparations from Gyrophora esculenta Miyoshi, Cetraria islandica (L.) Ach. var orientalis Asahina, and some other lichens." Gann 59: 421-432.

Gabriel and White 1954

Gabriel, L. and H. E. White (1954). "Food and medicines of the Okanakanes. (Compiled by Hester White)." Report of the Okanagan Historical Society of Vernon, British Columbia 18: 24-29.

[about Okanagan]

A cooking-pit is dug and lined with hot rocks, then a layer of skook-welp (rosebush branches) to prevent roots from burning. The (peeled if speet-lum), washed rots are put in the pit and another layer of skook-welp, then de-kwah-lep (timber grass) and finally lok-la (earth are added. A hole is made in the top and see-colkh (water) is poured in to make s’hool (steam_ from the hot rocks to cook these roots. Some roots were cooked overnight. When cooked the roots were put in the sun to dry out on to-ook-tan (tule) mats.

Sku-lep (Indian bread) is cooked the same way. This is made of the long hair-like moss which hangs from fir trees on mook-way-ut (high) mountains. The moss was cleaned and covered with spe-a-kaluk (dried berries) to sweeten and flavour it. It was placed between tule mats before covering it. When done the sku-lep was cut in pieces and dried.

After babies were weaned from the breast they were given se-yah (berry) juices and the long sku-leep moss from the trees was melted into a syrup, something like Karo syrup. This was good for them.

Garcia et al. 1990

Garcia, G. H., R. Campos and R. A. d. Torres (1990). "Antiherpetic activity of some Argentine medicinal plants." Fitoterapia 61(6): 542-546.

30 plant species important in fold medicine, including Usnea campestris and Usnea densirostra, were tested for antiviral activity.

Reported use for Usnea campestris: Medicinal.

Reported use for Usnea densirostra: Antiseptic. Antiflogistic (external use).

Both were traditionally called "barba de piedra".

No antiviral activity found for either species.

Maximum non-cytotoxic concentration (mg vegetal drug/mL):

Usnea campestris: 3.12

Usnea densirostra: 1.56

Garth 1953

Garth, T. R. (1953). "Atsugewi Ethnobotany." Anthropological Records [University of California Publications] 14(2): 129-212.

Atsugewi are one of the Pit River Tribes. In northeastern California, composed of the Atsuge in the west and Apwaruge in the east.

Pg 140 Black moss, applied as a poultice, was used for reducing swellings. The moss was taken from pine trees, dried, and pounded up. It was then boiled, or sometimes was used dry.

Pg 145 Old style shirts were painted with red ochre or they might have porcupine quills in a row on the sleeves and shirt front, but the only decoration of this sort that I saw on modern buckskin clothing was a red line painted along the outside seam of a trousers' leg. 10

10 Quills were boiled with juniper moss to color them green. The black tips of the quillls were so placed as to form the design. These green quills were also used for the designs on women's basket hats. Sometimes a man decorated a buckskin belt with quills. (IP.)

IP: Ida Peconom, aged about 68; a shaman; was quite intelligent and proved to be my best informant. From Apwaruge.

Pg 139 Lists food uses for yellow jacket (mumumisi) nests, Jerusalem crickets (honigi), grasshoppers (cmacigur), salmon flies (unutpi or halipwa), ant (sinasita) eggs, and angelworms (musi).

Gifford 1967

Gifford, E. W. (1967). "Ethnographic notes on the southwestern Pomo." Anthropological Records [University of California Publications] 25: 1-48.

Usnea californica was called kôchih (qoci). Used as diapers for babies. In interviews with Herman James in 1950, he said that Usnea was used as toilet chips.

Gilmore 1919

Gilmore, M. R. (1919). Uses of plants by the indians of the Missouri river region. Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute 1911-1912. Washington, Government Printing Office: 43-154.

González-Tejero et al. 1995

González-Tejero, M. R., M. J. Martínez-Lirola, M. Casares-Porcel and J. Molero-Mesa (1995). "Three lichens used in popular medicine in eastern Andalucia (Spain)." Economic Botany 49(1): 96-98.

Mention made of uses of Lobaria pulmonaria, Parmelia sulcata, Evernia sp., Usnea sp., Cladina sp., Peltigera canina, Cetraria islandica, and Usnea barbata.

Specifically talks about Ramalina bougeana, Xanthoria parientina, and Pseudevernia furfuracea.

Ramalina bourgeana is used in Spanish folk medicine in the municipal areas of Viso and Nijar. It is called Flor de piedra (Stoneflower). A decoction of the thallus is used as a diuretic for treating renal lithiasis. A cup is taken daily until the patient is better.

Xanthoria parientina is used in Spanish folk medicine. It is called rompepiedra (stonebreaker) or flor de piedra (stoneflower). In Campohermoso a decoction of the thallus with wine is used to treat menstrual complaints. In Barranquete, Cueva de los Medinas, Joya, Pozo de los Frailes, and Puebloblanco a decoction in water was used to treat kidney disorders. In Fernan Pérez and Joya a decoction in water was used as an antiodontalgic. In Fuente del Escribano it is used as an analgesic for several pains. And in San Isidro Jiménez it is an ingredient in a cough syrup, along with the fruits of Ceratonia siliqua and Fiscus carica, the flowers and leaves of Origanum vulgare, the pericarp of the fruit of Prunus amygdalus, the leaves of Olea europaea, and lots of sugar or honey.

Until a few decades ago there was a company in Granada dedicated to the collection of Pseudoevernia furfurcea (for dye or perfume?). This activity still occurs in the neighboring provinces of Sierra de Cazorla and Jaén.

Pseudoevernia furfurcea is used in folk medicine in Spain. It is called musgo (moss). In Alfacar and Víznar the thallus is washed and boiled for a considerable time, then the decoction is drunk for respiratory ailments.

Grinnell 1905

Grinnell, G. B. (1905). "Some Cheyenne plant medicines." American Anthropologist 7: 37-43.

The Cheyenne called Letharia vulpina He¯hyo¯wo¯’i˘sts (the ¯ and ˘ symbols go over preceding vowel). Means yellow dye or yellow root. Plant is boiled in water, and articles steeped in the liquid to dye them a yellowish green

Gunther 1945

Gunther, E. (1945). "Ethnobotany of western Washington." University of Washington Publications in Anthropology 10(1): 1-62.

The Quinault call a lichen that grows on trees ts’o’o´tc. It is used to wipe salmon when they are cleaned, because washing them toughens its skin.

Hanley and McKendrick 1983

Hanley, T. A. and J. D. McKendrick (1983). "Seasonal changes in chemical compositionand nutritive value of native forages in a spruce-hemlock forest, southeastern Alaska." U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station Research Paper PNW-312.

Harmon 1800-1816a

Harmon, D. W. (1800-1816a). A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of North America Between the 47th and 58th Degrees of North Latitude, Extending from Montreal Nearly to the Pacific, a Distance of About 5,000 Miles, Including an Account of the Principal Occurrences During a Residence of Nineteen Years in Different Parts of the Country. Toronto, Courier Press, Limited (1911).

Harmon 1800-1816b

Harmon, D. W. (1800-1816b). Sixteen Years in the Indian Country. Toronto, The MacMillan Company of Canada, Limited (1957).

Hart 1974

Hart, J. (1974). Plant taxonomy of the Salish and Kootenai Indians of Western Montana. Missoula, Montana, University of Montana. M. Sc. thesis.

Hart 1976

Hart, J. (1976). Montana - Native plants and early peoples. Helena, Montana, The Montana Historical Society and The Montana Bicentennial Administration.

Hausen et al. 1993

Hausen, B. M., L. Emde and V. Marks (1993). "An investigation of the allergenic constituents of Cladonia stellaris (Opiz) Pous & Vezda ('silver moss', 'reindeer moss' or 'reindeer lichen')." Contact Dermatitis 28: 70-76.

Hawksworth 2003

Hawksworth, D. L. (2003). "Hallucinogenic and toxic lichens." International Lichenological Newsletter 36(2): 33-35.

Parmelia saxatilis and Ramalina siliquosa used in the Shetland Islands as tobacco.

Xanthoparmelia conspersa (Parmelia conspersa) used by the Pima, Papago, Mohave, and Kiowa in Arizona as magic hallucinogen and as medicine.

Parmotrema andinum (Parmelia paraguariensis) used in Mauritania as tobacco.

Usnea tablets causing poisoning.

Cetraria islandica being used as toothpaste.

Hawksworth et al. 1984

Hawksworth, D. L., R. M. Lawton, P. G. Martin and K. Stanley-Price (1984). "Nutritive value of Ramalina duriaei grazed by gazelles in Oman." The Lichenologist 16: 93-94.

Hellson and Gadd 1974

Hellson, J. C. and M. Gadd (1974). "Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians." National Museum of Man Mercury Series, Canadian Ethnology Service Paper No. 19: 1-138.

The Blackfoot used an infusion of the lichen and bone marrow for stomache disorders like ulcers. And the lichen was blackened in a fire and rubbed on a rash, exema, and wart sores.

A yellow dye was produced from pieces of this lichen which was combined under pressure with porcupine quills.

Hendryx and Davis 1991

Hendryx, M. and B. J. Davis (1991). Plants and the people: The ethnobotany of the Karuk tribe. Yreka, California, Siskiyou County Museum.

Hess 1976

Hess, T. (1976). Dictionary of Puget Salish, University of Washington Press.

Hesse 1916

Hesse, O. (1916). "Lichens and their characteristic constituents. XIV. Use of lichens as provisions and fodder (Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Flechten und ihrer charakteristischen Bestandteile; Die Verwendung der Flechten als Nahrungs- und Futtermittel)." Journal Fur Praktische Chemie 93: 254-270.

Needs to be translated

Cetraria islandica has 3.35 times more carbohydrate than potatoes, and Cladonia rangiferina has 2.5 times. (Hesse 1916, cited in Perez-Llano 1944)

Hidalgo et al. 1994

Hidalgo, M. E., E. Fernández, W. Quilhot and E. Lissi (1994). "Antioxidant activity of depsides and depsidones." Phytochemistry 37(6): 1585-1587.

Hobbs 1986

Hobbs, C. (1986). Usnea: The herbal antibiotic and other medicinal lichens. Capitola, CA, Botanica Press.

Holloway and Alexander 1990

Holloway, P. S. and G. Alexander (1990). "Ethnobotany of the Fort Yukon redion, Alaska." Economic Botany 44: 214-225.

Occasionally the Gwich’in of the Fort Yukon Region, Alaska occassionally collect Usnea spp. from spruce trees, dry it, and use it as tinder. Called Grandma's Hair.

Hu et al. 1980

Hu, S.-y., Y. C. Kong and P. P. H. But (1980). An Enumeration of the Chinese Materia Medica. Hong Kong, The Chinese University Press.

Huneck 1999

Huneck, S. (1999). "The significance of lichens and their metabolites." Naturwissenschaften 86(12): 559-570.


Hunn 1997

Hunn, E. S. (1997). Nch'i-Wána: "The Big River": Mid-Columbia Indians and Their Land. Seattle, University of Washington Press.

Hunn 2005

Hunn, G. (2005). Unpublished 1976-1980 ethnobotany field notes. Pers. comm. to S. Crawford. May 18, 2005.

Hunte et al. 1975

Hunte, P., M. Safi, A. Macey and G. B. Kerr (1975). Volume 4: Folk methods of fertility regulation; and the traditional birth attendant (the dai). Buffalo - Kabul, US Agency for International Development - Government of Afghanistan.

Huovinen 1988

Huovinen, K. (1988). "The content of protocetraric acid in different decoctions of Cetraria islandica." Planta Medica 55: 98.

Ignace 2005

Ignace, M. (2005). Notes on Secwepemctsin names for lichens. Pers. comm. to S. Crawford. May 18, 2005.

Johnston 1970

Johnston, A. (1970). "Blackfoot Indian utilisation of the flora of the northwestern Great Plains." Economic Botany 24: 301-324.

Bryoria fremontii was used as a famine food by Blackfoot in western Montana. Blankinship, 1905, cited in Johnson (1970, 1982).

The Blackfoot used Letharia vulpina as a yellow dye for porcupine quills and called it e-simatch-sis (means dye, also applied to other plants). The quills were placed in boiling water along with the lichen. It was also used for a headache. McClintock (1910), Johnson (1970), Johnson (1982).

Johnston 1982

Johnston, A. (1982). "Plants and the Blackfoot." Provincial Museum of Alberta. Natural History Occasional Paper 4: 1-106.

Bryoria fremontii was used as a famine food by Blackfoot in western Montana. Blankinship, 1905, cited in Johnson (1970, 1982).

The Blackfoot used Letharia vulpina as a yellow dye for porcupine quills and called it e-simatch-sis (means dye, also applied to other plants). The quills were placed in boiling water along with the lichen. It was also used for a headache. McClintock (1910), Johnson (1970), Johnson (1982).

Gros Ventre dyed quills with a solution of L. vulpina, called the lichen otsahaa. This lichen was also known to the Cheyenne who called it he-ho-wa-ins’-tots. Johnson (1982).

Jones 2005

Jones, L. (2005). Notes on Lakota use of lichens. Pers. comm. to S. Crawford. May 19, 2005.

Kane 1846-48

Kane, P. (1846–48). Field Notes. Stark Museum of Art, Orange, TX: access. no. 11.85/5, n.d., n.p.

Karavaeb 1950

Karavaeb, M. H. (1950). "Lichens in perfumery and the prospect of their utilization in the USSR (translation of title)." Plantae Cryptogamae, Acta Instituti Botanici nomine V.L. Komarovii 6: 354-374.

All in Russian.

Mostly talks about Evernia furfuracea (L.) Ach. and Evernia prunastri Mann.

There are also small write-ups on Evernia thamnodes (Flot.) Arn.; Lobaria pulmonaria Hoffm.; the genus Ramalina; and Anaptychia ciliaris (L.) Koerb.

There also apears to be a passing mention of the genus Parmelia, as well as the species Evernia divaricata Ach., Evernia esorediosa D. R., Letharia vulpina Vain., Usnea articulata (L.) Hoffm.; Usnea florida (L.) Hoffm.; Usnea barbata (L.) Hoffm.; Bryopogon implexum Elenk.; Bryopogon chalybeiforme (L.) Elenk.; Cladonia rangiferina (L.) Web.; and Cladonia silvatica (L.) Hoffm.

When talking about Evernia prunastri, mentions the following names: Lichen prunastri Linn.; Parmelia prunastri Ach.; Lobaria prunastri Hoffm.; Physcia prunastri DC.

As well as the following lichens: Evernia prunastri: f. gracilis Ach.; f. sorediifera Ach.; f. vulgaris Koerb.; stictocera Ach.; var. retusa Ach.; var. sorediifera Ach.; var. stictocera Ach.;

When talking about Evernia furfuracea, mentions the following names: Parmelia furfuracea Ach.; Lichen furfuraceus Linn.; Pseudoevernia furfuracea Zopf. As well as the following other lichens: Pseudoevernia soralifera (E. soralifera Bitt.); Pseudoevernia olivetorina Zopf.; Pseudoevernia ceratea Zopf. (E. fufuracea var. ceratea Ach.); Pseudoevernia furfuracea (L.) Zopf; Pseudoevernia isidiophora Zopf

When talking about Lobaria pulmonaria, mentions the names: Lichen pulmonarius Linn.; Parmelia pulmonacea Ach.; Sticta pulmonacea Ach.; Lichen reticulatus Gilib.; and Dermatodea pulmonaria St.-Hil. As well as the following other lichens: Lobaria papillaria Tomin; Lobaria plotnikovii Tomin; and Lobaria laetevirens A. Z.

When talking about the genus Ramalina, mentions the following species: Ramalina farinacea (L.) Ach.; Ramalina pollinaria (Westr.) Ach.; Ramalina fraxinea (L.); and Ramalina calicaris (L.) Fr.

When talking about Anaptychia ciliaris, mentions the names: Physcia ciliaris L.; and Borrea ciliaris Ful. As well as the lichen species: Anaptychia intricata Mass.

Kari 1987

Kari, P. R. (1987). Tanaina Plantlore, Dena'ina k'et'una: An ethnobotany of the Dena'ina Indians of Southcentral Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska, US National Park Service, Alaska Region.

Kartnig 1980

Kartnig, T. (1980). "Cetraria islandica - Isländisches moos." Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie 8: 127-130.

In German

Kauppi 1979

Kauppi, M. (1979). "The exploitation of Cladonia stellaris in Finland." Lichenologist 11(1): 85-89.

Cladonia stellaris is used ornamentally in wreaths, floral decorations, and architect’s models. Used to construct wreaths that are often placed on the graves of relatives on All Saints Day. Because of the durability of the lichen, these wreaths will last in good condition all winter. The lichen is also commonly used in floral decorations, especially at Christmas.

Also as forage for reindeer. It is abundant, uniform in colour, and looks pretty. It was previously used as a source of usnic acid, effective against gram-negative bacteria.

It may take more than a century to regain dominance after a fire (Scotter 1964, cited in Kauppi 1979). It is also quite sensitive to trampling.

Between 1970 and 1975 about 17,900 tonnes of Cladonia stellaris were exported from Scandanavia. The total value of the lichen export in this six year period was over £ 8 million. Of the amount exported, 83% was used in West Germany, but Denmark (10%), Austria (3%), Netherlands (1%), Switzerland (1%), U. S. A. (0.8%), Sweden (0.6%), France (0.4%), Italy (0.2%), Belgium (0.2%), and some other countries (0.5%) also imported the lichen. As well, a substantial quantity of the lichen is consumed domestically in Scandanavia.

Export began in 1910. A quality control act was introduced in 1931, and is now inforced by specially trained inspectors.

The lichen must be picked wet, so if it is dry the field is watered first. It is hand picked and the better lichens are placed in trays, dried, and then put into boxes to be shipped.

In good lichen forests, the returns from lichen can be many times that of the returns from the standing timber. In the 70’s, each year the lichen business in Finland would employ about 500 people full time, and about 1000 - 2000 people would get some income from it. On the island of Hailuoto, about one third of the total income was from lichen. Usually, about 50% of the income to the landowner, 25% in wages, and 25% for packaging, warehouse, transport, and administration.

If too much lichen is removed the production deteriorates. Lichen also being destroyed from other sources, clearcutting, gravel quarrying, trampling, etc. To maintain high production, only about 20% of the lichen should be removed at any one time, and sites should only be picked over 5-6 year intervals. Systematic management of lichen resources can maintain and even increase production.

Kawagoe 1925

Kawagoe, S. (1925). "The market fungi of Japan." Transactions of the British Mycological Society 10: 201-206.

Umbilicaria esculenta (formerly Gyrophora esculenta) is called Iwa-take by the Japanese. Iwa-take hunters will risk their lives to gather the lichen, because it usually only grows on cliff faces far in the mountains. The hunters will get in baskets that are lowered down the cliff face in order to pick the lichen. The market price for iwa-take is very high, and is only consumed as a delicacy in high class dinners.

Keddie 1988

Keddie, G. (1988). "The Kootenay lichen pounder." The Midden 20(1): 6-9.

Kennedy and Bouchard 1996

Kennedy, D. I. D. and R. Bouchard (1996). An Ethnographic Examination of "Last Chance" Land Use. Manuscript prepared for I.R. Wilson Consultants, Ltd. and The Alkali Lake Indian Band, on behalf of the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Williams Lake Forest District.

Kok 1966

Kok, A. (1966). "A short history of the orchil dyes." Lichenologist 3: 248-272.

Kuhnlein and Turner 1991

Kuhnlein, H. V. and N. J. Turner (1991). Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples: Nutrition, Botany and Use. Philadelphia, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.

Kumar et al. 1996

Kumar, S., A. H. Banskota and M. D. Manandhar (1996). "Isolation and identification of some chemical constituents of Parmelia nepalensis." Planta Medica 62: 93-94.

Parmelia nepalensis was extracted, and seven compounds were identified that were not previously known in this species.

Author reports that this lichen species is locally called "Kalo Jhyau", and is traditionally used to treat toothache, soreness of throat, and pain.

Also say it is called Jhoola or Charila in Ayurvedic medicine, and considered usedful in dyspepsia, spermatorrhoea, amenorrhoea, calculi, disease of blood and heart, stomach disorder, enlarged spleen, bronchitis, bleeding piles, scabies, leprosy, and excessive salivation.

Kurokawa 1984

Kurokawa, S. (1984). "Contributions to the lichenology by Dr. Masami Sato." Journal of Japanese Botany 59(11): 350-351.

In Japanese.

Obituary for M. Sato, who did lots of work on edible lichens.

Filed with obituary by Takasi Tuyama

Källman 1988

Källman, S. (1988). "Military survival: A physiological assessment of soldiers using wild plants for food during survival and evasion." Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 59: 81-85.

Fed soldiers pine needles and Bryoria for several days under very hard physical activity in the arctic and measured physiological changes in their bodies.

Lal and Rao 1956

Lal, B. M. and K. R. Rao (1956). "The food value of some Indian lichens." Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research 15(c): 71-73.

Reports ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, eher extractives, Kjeldahl N, crude fibre, lichenin (isolichenin), ascorbic acid, and riboflavin for nine lichens: Parmelia cirrhata, Parmelia quercina, Parmelia tinctorum, Usnea orientalis, Usnea longissima, Usnea stirtoniana, Ramalina sinensis, Peltigera canina, and Roccella montagnei

A good portion of the ash is silica. Calcium and iron higher than that of cereals, comparable to green leafy materials. Calcium phosphorus ratio from 2 to 14, shows they could serve as a good source of calcium. Roccella montagnei contains isolichenin, others lichenin. Glucose sole hexose component of isolichenin and lichenin. Cetraria islandica polysaccarides consist mainly of d-glucose, with a bit of d-galactose and d-mannose. Cladonia aspestris has d-galactose, d-glucose, and d-mannose. Pustulin another lichen polysaccharide.

Pringsheim and Kusenack cited in Llano show lichen 2.64% ash. Wallerstein cited in Llano showed that white mice digested 53-64% of lichenin. Dannfelt cited in Llano found 1 to 8% protein in lichen. Ellis et al. failed to record Vitamen B in feeding experiments, but Lal shows considerable riboflavin.

Lal and Upreti 1995

Lal, B. M. and D. K. Upreti (1995). "Ethnobotanical notes on three Indian lichens." Lichenologist 27(1): 77-79.

Usnea longissima is called Syara by the Bhotia and Garhwali of the Garhwal Himalayans in India. It is used as a stuffing for pillows and cushions. But some people think that it causes asthma if used. This lichen is also used by the Baiga of Madhya Pradesh, India, along with some other ingredients, to treat bone fractures. Has usnic and barbatic acid.

Buellia subsoriroides is used by the Garhwali herdsmen of the Garhwal Himalayans in India. They call it maidi and use it as a substitute for henna for colouring fingertips and palms. They spit saliva on the lichen and start rubbing it with a small piece of rough stone to get a small amount of paste. this paste is applied to the fingertips and palms and left for 10 min, after which the paste is removed and the finger is stained orange-coloured. Has baeomycesic acid, norstictic acid, and atranorin.

Parmelia sancti-angeli is called Jhavila by the Gond and Oraon tribes of central India to treat a ring-worm like skin disease called Sem that causes white patches around the neck. About 30-50g of the fresh lichen is burned and the ash is mixed with either mustard (Brassica nigra) or linseed (Linum usitatissimum) oil and the paste then applied to the affected area. Has atranorin in the cortex and gyrophoric acid in the medulla.

Lange and Schippmann 1997

Lange, D. and U. Schippmann (1997). Trade survey of medicinal plants in Germany: a contribution to international plant species conservation. Bonn, Germany, Bundesamt für Naturschutz.

Lange 1957

Lange, O. L. (1957). "Die flechte Parmelia paraguariensis als Handelsware in der südlichen Sahara." Nature Und Volk 87: 266-273.

Translated from German:

Lange (1957) reported on how Parmelia paraguariensi is used as a tobacco in Mauritania after being imported from several hundred kilometers to the northwest where it grows.
   Maurita in the south Sahara is a dry desert area where it is regularly 48˚C.  Nomads come from far away to the market in the city of Atar to buy, sell, and chat.  At the market they sell food, millet, grain, melon, mint tea, bars of salt from a marsh, and buy sugar, spices, cuscus, camel and goat meat, and dates.
   Lange purchased a bag of Parmelia paraguariensi from a local vender for 10 Franken (20 cents).  The lichen was chopped up into little pieces so it looked like an herb, but the upper and lower surface, as well as apothecia and bits of bark were still apparent.  The lichen smelled strong like perfume and hot like pepper.  Lange thought it was quite because the merchant had very good business. Lange referred to the lichen as Duftfletche (fragrant lichen).  This may be a German translation of the Maure name for the lichen.
   To use the lichen, a Maure man crushes the lichen in his hand and mixes it with tobacco, one part lichen to ten parts tobacco.  He then packs it into a goat bone pipe and smokes it.  The Maure quite enjoy the smoke it but Lange thought that it must be an acquired taste.  The lichen has several other uses as well, but it is mainly used for its smell.  The women do not smoke the lichen, but they use it for a dry perfume.  They pulverize the lichen and use it like powder in their hair and dress.  Lange thought that this lichen is the source of the traditional Maurian smell.  The lichen is also used as an insect repellent.  It is light on fire in the house and the fragrant smoke drives insects away.
   Interestingly, the untreated lichen has no smell.  The lichen must be saturated with rose oil and other essences to give it the characteristic fragrance.  The lichen is probably used to carry the smell because it is so absorbent.
   Around Atar it is desert and there are only crust lichens around the area.  Parmelia paraguariensi does not grow anywhere within several hundred kilometers.  The merchant Lange purchased the lichen from said that he had to go 12 days camel ride north and 9 days camel ride west to reach the lichen.  This would be somewhere in the mountains of the Spanish Rio de Oro, which is about 750 km away. Parmelia paraguariensi is a very rare (but locally common) species of lichen, first found in 1893 in one spot in Paraguay, and later found at one site on the Ivory Coast.  Where the lichen is being collected is one of the few places in the world where it grows. Parmelia paraguariensi appears to be used a lot by the Maurians, which is amazing given how rare it is and how far away it grows.

Lee et al. 1977

Lee, E. B., H. S. Yun and W. S. Woo (1977). "Plants and animals used for fertility regulation in Korea." Korean Journal of Pharmacognosy 8(2): 81-88.

Usnea diffracta is used in Korea to induce menstruation. Author notes that a different species of Usnea is used in New Ireland to do the same thing. Gives the Korean name for the lichen, in Korean characters.

Lee 1966

Lee, S. J. (1966). Korean Folk Medicine. Seoul, Publishing Center of Seoul National University.

Leighton 1985

Leighton, A. L. (1985). "Wild plant use by the Woods Cree (Nihithawak) of east-central Saskatchewan." National Museum of Man Mercury Series No. 101.

Fish stew thickened with rock tripe were part of the older respondenst past and present diet, but were unknown to yourn adults encountered in 1979 and 1980.

Rock tripe was an exception to most plant foods, because it could be collected year round (most had seasons)

Actinogyra muhlenbergii called asiniwakon, eaten in soup, preperation and stories outlined Cladina alpestris called wapiskastaskamihk, atikomiciwin. Used medicinally for intestinal worms, preparation outlined Usnea sp. called mithapakwan, used medicinally for nosebleed, and as firestarter.

Lerman 1952-1954

Lerman, N. (1952–1954). Okanogan (Salish) Ethnology. Field Notes and Unpublished Manuscript, originally held by Melville Jacobs Collection, Univerisity of Washington Libraries (microfilmed and photoduplicated copy in British Columbia Indian Langage Project files, Victoria). Cited in Turner et al. 1980.

Lewis and Clark 1804-1806

Lewis, M. and W. Clark (1804–1806). Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. New York, Antiquarian Press Ltd.

Leão et al. 1997

Leão, A. M. A. C., D. F. Buchi, M. Iacomini, P. A. J. Gorin and M. B. M. Oliveira (1997). "Cytotoxic effect against HeLa cells of polysaccharides from the lichen Ramalina celastri." Journal of Submicroscopic Cytology and Pathology 29(4): 503-509.

Lindley 1838

Lindley, J. (1838). Flora Medica, Originally published in London. Reprinted by Ajay Books Service, New Dehli, India, 1981.

Lipp 1995

Lipp, F. J. (1995). Ethnobotanical method and fact: A case study. Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline. R. E. Schultes and S. v. Reis. Portland, OR, Dioscorides Press: 52-59.

Llano 1944

Llano, G. A. (1944). "Economic uses of lichens." Economic Botany 2: 15-45.

A revision of the economic uses portion of his paper published in The Botanical Review.

Lichen starch used in chocolates, pastries, confectionaries, especially in France.

Numerous antibacterial compounds in lichens. Lichens generally show characteristic antibiotic properties depending on the area they were collected from.

Lichens are only harvested for domestic animals, but most Lapps have a goat and a cow in addition to their reindeer. The reindeer graze, and the Lapps keep the herds constantly on the move during the critical winter period. The Eskimo did not do this with the imported reindeer, and the US Department of Agriculture in Alaska reported in 1929 that there was serious lichen overgrazing from the imported reindeer. The reindeer crop the lichen close, but leave some, whereas the hand harvesting removes all of the thallus. The northern Scandanavians harvest more intensly than the Lapps, and depleted the lichen causing friction. One man can gather 50–100 kg of lichen a day, or 300 to 400 kg a day with impliments.

Alectoria jubata and Umbilicaria pennsylvanica have particularly higher protein than fat content out of lichen forages tested, 7.77% protein for Alectoria jubata and 6.27% protein for Umbilicaria pennsylvanica. This content varied with the season.

Rye and Cetraria islandica bread was used in northern Finland. Icelanders made the used of it, collecting great masses yearly. The flour of Cetraria islandica was used to make bread, gruel, porridge, salads, and jelly. Before use it was boiled in lye, rinsed with clear water, and dried, and then could be stored for many years. Cetraria nivalis was occasionally used in a similar manner. For bread first oven dried and ground fine. A quarter grain meal was added, and then it was baked like bread. Bread was strong, with a fair taste, and kept well. Lichen was mixed with elm cortex and grain and boiled in lots of water to make broth. For porridge, the container was filled a third with lichen and then boiled until thick. The top broth and scum was skimmed off and then it was salted to taste, cooled until hard, and eaten with or without milk. It could be redried in an oven and used as bread. To make gruel, 1 pound of finely cut lichen was added to 1.5 - 2 quarts of water and cooked until half the water had evaporated. It was strained and the filtrate could be flavoured with raisins or cinnamon. The residue was eaten as a salad with oil, egg yolk, and sugar. The hardened jelly of the lichen was mixed with lemon juice, sugar, chocolate, almonds.

Cetraria islandica used for tanning, astringent property (depsides) peculular to some species.

There was a booming industry in Sweden (Henneguy 1883, cited in Llano 1944), which crashed by 1884 do to exhaustion of local resources.

Cladonia rangiferina and Cetraria islandica have been found to yield up to 66% polysaccharides which are readily hydrolized to glucose and then almost completely fermented to alcohol. Lichen acids (like cetraric acid) may be present up to 11% of the dry weight, along with sodium chloride, and these may retard the process. Cladonia rangiferina can yeild 54.5% sugar which ferments to produce 176-282 cc of alcohol per kg of plant. Maximum returns are obtained by steaming lichens for one hour under 3 atmospheres pressure, adding 2.5% of 25% hydrochloric acid, resteaming for the same period of time and pressure, and finally neutralizing the product. Addition of H3PO4 can accelerate fermentation. A modification of adding 3:1 sulfuric acid: nitric acid produces a pentanitrate similar to cellulose nitrate, which, when gelatinized solvent, produced a substance resembling horn.

Bitter principal in Cladonia rangiferina or Cetraria islandica can be removed by soaking in water for 24 hours, or by adding potassium carbonate for quicker action. Boiling with lye, after which the lichen is thoroughly rinsed, is the usual method of preparation. Sometimes mixed with hot water and straw or meal and salted before fed to cattle. One kilo of Cladonia rangiferina (15-18% water) is considered equal to one third poor fodder or early grass. The lichen is found to contain 1-5%% protein, the rest carbohydrates and little or no albuman. Cetraria islandica has been known to yield 61% carbohydrates.

Experiments in the Kola Peninsula looking for alternative glucose sources for northern locations. Looking at 8 lichen species, found them to be rich in polyhexoses but little cellulose and pentosan. Two small factories in Kirovsk are producing molasses from lichen. Preliminary treatment with weak alkali to make lichen acids soluble. It is then hydrolized with dilute H2SO4, neutralized with chalk, and purified with activated charcoal to produce a molasses containing 65-70% glucose. But when the molasses was produced from Cladonia spp., especially Cladonia alpestris, it had an unknown bitter taste.

The Turks used Evernia prunastri for jelly. Evernia furfuracea was used by the Egyptians to preserve the odor of spices employed in embalming mummies. It was identified in one mummy 500-800BC.

Lichens were used in Siberia and Russia instead of hops. A byproduct of Lobaria pulmonaria was “a yellow, nearly insipid mucilage which may be eaten with salt”.

Lobaria pulmonaria used for tanning, astringent property (depsides) peculular to some species.

Parmelia abessinica is called rathipuvvu in India and is eaten, generally in a curry powder and medicinally.

Alectoria jubata and Umbilicaria pennsylvanica have particularly higher protein than fat content out of lichen forages tested, 7.77% protein for Alectoria jubata and 6.27% protein for Umbilicaria pennsylvanica. This content varied with the season.

Umbilicaria was eaten by Franklin, after boiling or soaking. But completely reading his report shows that at that time they were also boiling and eating the leather of their equipment, and the lichen had made them very sick.

Variolaria (Pertusaria spp.) is bitter and yields 18% lime and 29.4% oxalic acid, and was employed in France in the manufacture of the acid.

Llano 1956

Llano, G. A. (1956). "Utilization of lichens in the arctic and subarctic." Economic Botany 10: 267-392.

Low 1990

Low, T. (1990). Bush Medicine: A Pharmacopoeia of Natural Remedies. North Ryde, Collins/Angus & Robertson Publishers.

Mabey 1977

Mabey, R. (1977). Plants with a purpose: A guide to the everyday uses of wild plants. London, William Collins Sons & Co Ltd.

Madulid et al. 1989

Madulid, D. A., F. J. M. Gaerlan, E. M. Romero and E. M. G. Agoo (1989). "Ethnopharmacological study of the Ati tribe in Nagpana, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo." Acta Manilana 38(1): 25-40.

Ethnobotanical survey done with Ati people in Nagpana, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. 46 plants are recorded, including 2 lichens.

Parmelia cf. zollingeri is locally called kalas. Authors record the 'leaves' being used as medicine for fever. Burn the leaves and let the child smell the fumes. This is done when the child has high fever and suffering from convulsions.

Usnea cf. barbata locally called tagahumok puti. Authors record the whole plant used for wounds and epigastric pain/abdominal pain. Preparation: 1) Chop a handful of the plant to small pieces and mix it with coconut oil. Spread the paste over the wound. 2) Boil plant and drink concoction.

Main-Johnson 1997

Main-Johnson, L. (1997). Health, wholeness, and the land: Gitksan traditional plant use and healing. Department of Anthropology. Edmonton, Alberta, University of Alberta.

Marshall 1977

Marshall, A. G. (1977). Nez Perce Social Groups: An Ecological Interpretation. Department of Anthropology. Pullman, Washington State University. Ph.D. thesis.

Martínez-Lirola et al. 1996

Martínez-Lirola, M. J., M. R. González-Tejero and J. Molero-Mesa (1996). "Ethnobotanical resources in the province of Almería, Spain: Campo de Nijar." Economic Botany 50(1): 40-56.

An ethnobotanical survey carried out in Almería, Spain, traditional uses for 253 species were recorded, including 2 lichens.

Ramalina bourgeana is locally called "Flor de piedra". 'Aerial parts' are used to treat renal lithiasis, by ingestion of decoction.

Xanthoria parietina subsp. ectanea is locally called "Rompepiedra" or "Flor de piedra". Has the same use as Ramalina bourgeana, 'aerial parts' are used to treat renal lithiasis, by ingestion of decoction.

Probably taken in the morning for an odd number of consecutive mornings (not unique to the lichens)

Matsiliza and Barker 2001

Matsiliza, B. and N. P. Barker (2001). "A preliminary survey of plants used in traditional medicine in the Grahamstown area." South African Journal of Botany 67: 177-182.

Multiple interviews with 5 informants in the Grahamstown area yielded information on 24 medicinal plants. Mostly Xhosa speaking, herbalists, diviners, and traditional healers.

Lichen growing on rocks is called mthafathafa (doesn't specify whether this is all rock lichens, or specific ones)

"Used to treat gonorrhoea. The fresh plant is crushed and mixed with water. The infusion is taken orally. The plant is also dried over fire and crushed. The powder is applied to the wound's infected area."

This use was reported by one of the informants, Mrs. Lindani, a 62-year old housewife, whose grandfather and aunt had both been diviners. She learned from them and has practiced since she was 14. Also trained as a Prophet in the Zion church. As a diviner, she keeps kontact with the ancestors, divines the causes of misfortune and illness, and sometimes treats the patients.

Mattick 1968

Mattick, V. F. (1968). "Bemerkungen zu Masami Sato: An edible lichen of Japan, Gyrophora esculenta Miyoshi." Nova Hedwigia 16: 511-515.

Seems to discuss Mr. Sato and Iwa-take. Has pictures.

McClintock 1910

McClintock, W. (1910). The Old North Trail or Life, Legends and Religion of the Blackfeet Indians. London, MacMillan and Co., Ltd.

Mead 1972

Mead, G. R. (1972). "The ethnobotany of the California Indians: A compendium of the plants, their users, and their uses." Occasional Publications in Anthropology Ethnology Series [University of Northern Colorado] 30.

Evernia spp. was used by the Achomawi as the principal ingredient for the poisen for poisen arrow tips. The tips were embedded in masses of the wet lichen and left there, sometimes for up to a year. Rattlesnake venom was also sometimes used. (Merriam 1967 cited in Mead 1972)

Letharia vulpina was used by the Hupa to dye leaves of Xerophyllum tenex a or sometimes porcupine quills bright yellow colour. The Modoc (Lutuami) used the lichen to dye porcupine quills yellow for basketry decoration. The Yoruk called the lichen mece’n and used the lichen as a general yellow dye. The Modoc, Karok, Wintun, and Northern Paiute also used the lichen as a general dye. The Karok called the lichen manil maashaxaeme (mountain moss) and used it as a yellow dye for porcupine quills that were worked into the design of some basket caps, but didn’t use it for other baskets. The Yuki didn’t use it as a dye, they made a thick concoction and used it as paint. They also used it as bedding material and as medicine to dry up running sores. The Wailaki also used it to dry up sores. (Barrett 1910; Chesnut 1902; Goddard 1903; Merrill 1923; O’Neale 1932: pg 31; Schenck and Gifford 1952: pg 377; all cited in Mead 1972)

Cites Chesnut 1902 that Wailaki at Alectoria fremontii during times of famine.

Miao et al. 2001

Miao, V., M.-F. Coëffet-LeGal, D. Brown, S. Sinnemann, G. Donaldson and J. Davies (2001). "Genetic approaches to harvesting lichen products." Trends in Biotechnology 19(9): 349-355.

Moerman 1998

Moerman, D. (1998). Ethnobotany of Native America, Available online at

Moore and Egan 1991

Moore, P. D. and R. S. Egan (1991). "Are lichens edible?" Evansia 8(1): 9-14.

Morice 1894

Morice, R. A. G. (1894). "Notes archaeological, industrial, and sociological on the western Dénés with on ethnographical sketch of the same." Transactions of the Canadian Institute 4(7).

Page 129-130, Alectoria jubata is called teh-ra ("above-hair"). It is eaten but not prized. It is thoroughly washed until it loses its outer colouring matter. Then mixed with dough as one would raisins, and baked. Says it has the same effect on the cake as would copious application of yeast powder on a loaf of bread. Claimed to be very sweet and savory when prepared like this. Prior to introduction of flour, it was cooked with grease.

Mors and Rizzini 1966

Mors, W. B. and C. T. Rizzini (1966). Useful Plants of Brazil. San Francisco, Holden-Day, Inc.

Morse 1822

Morse, J. (1822). A Report to the Secretary of War of the United States, on Indian Affairs, Comprising a Narrative of a Tour Preformed in the Summer of 1820, Under a Commission from the President of the United States, for the Purposes of Ascertaining, for the Use of the Government, the Actual State of the Indian Tribes in Our Country. Washington, D. C., Davis & Force.

Mourning Dove 1933

Mourning Dove (1933). How Coyote happened to make the black moss food. Coyote Stories. Caldwell, Idaho, Caxton Printers, Ltd.: 119-125.

Moxham 1981

Moxham, T. H. (1981). "Lichens in the perfume industry." Dragoco Report 1(Suppl.): 3-11.

Muller 2001

Muller, K. (2001). "Pharmaceutically relevant metabolites from lichens." Applied Microbiology And Biotechnology 56(1-2): 9-16.


Murphey 1959

Murphey, E. V. A. (1959). Indian Uses of Native Plants. Fort Bragg, California, Medocino County Historical Society.

Nelson 1951

Nelson, A. (1951). Medical Botany: A hand-book for medical men and all who are concerned in the use of plants: nutritionists, dieticians, pharmacists and veterinarians. Edinburgh, E. & S. Livingstone, Ltd.

Newberry 1887

Newberry, J. S. (1887). "Food and fiber plants of the North American Indians." Popular Science Monthly 32: 31-46.

It has happened to me to vsit nearly forty tribes of the native population of North America, and many of these at a time when they had had little or no intercourse with the whites. As a physician and botanist, my attention was naturally directed to the use of plants among them for food, and as remedies. I made many notes on these subjects, and, as they have never been published, and contain some items that may be interesting, it has seemed to me worth while to put them on record. Most of the observations to which I hae referred were made a quarter of a century ago among the Indians of the Far West, remote from civilization, and where they were living in the "state of nature." The plants, of which the Indians I have visited have made use, are the following:


Among the fiber plants used by the Indians I should mention one lichen (Evernia sarmentosa) which, though of little importance, is interesting as the only plant of this group, so far as I know, serving any useful purpose among the Indians. In certain localities among the mountains of Oregon the fir-forests are draped with the gray fiber of the Evernia, which there has much the aspect of the Spanish moss as it hangs from the live-oaks in our Southern States. In a few instances I have seen this fiber utilized by the Indian women, who twist it into rolls as large as the little finger, and then sew these together to make a kind of jacket similar to that which they much more frequently form of strips of rabbit-skin. These garments are not handsome, but are thick and warm, and do much to protect the wearers from the severity of the winter in the Northwest.

Newbould 1963

Newbould, B. B. (1963). "Chemotherapy of arthritis induced in rats by mycobacterial adjuvant ." British Journal of Pharmacology and Chemotherapy 21: 127-136.

Ohmura 2003

Ohmura, Y. (2003). "What species of Japanese lichens are edible?" Raiken 13(3): 6-9.


1. Against all expectation, I can find only a limited number of edible lichens. In China, in addition to Iwa-take (Umbilicaria esculenta) and kabuto-goke-modoki (Lobaria kurokawae), many other kinds of lichens are sold in the market as edible; however, in Japan edible lichens are probably available only at souvenir shops. In Japan, edible lichens are not fully recognized as “mountain vegetable.”

2. There is almost no information available about edible lichens except that this magazine introduced a few kinds of edible lichens in the past.

3. Unlike mushrooms, lichens are not appetizing. Therefore, Mr. Saito’s challenge to try to eat some lichens is estimable to me. Mr. Saito is a very enthusiastic amateur specialist of fungus. His webpage “Great Mushrooms” ( introduces about 1,000 kinds of mushrooms with images. I’ve acquired the following information from Mr. Saito.

4. In Photograph 1, the left lichen is Yokowa Saruogase (Usnea diffracta) and the right one is fuji saruogase (U. trichodeoides). Mr. Saito assumed that these two kinds are both saruogase but have different way of branching off. He also suggested that the left one tasted bitter when he chewed it while the right one tasted milder. As he explained that the U. diffracta has quite strong taste, I chewed a dried sample of U. diffracta but didn’t taste at all. It probably must be fresh to taste. U. trichodeoides includes a variant whose chief ingredient is saratin* acid and another variant, which includes fumarl-protosetoral* acid as major ingredient.

5. Mr. Saito explains more about his experience of eating U. trichodeoides, including how he cooked it and texture of the species. The crunchy texture of the species is based on middle stem. Just as U. trichodeoides, Umenoki-goke tea (tea made of Parmotrema tinctorum) also tastes like a seaweed-flavored soup, according to Mr. Saito. It is interesting that Bandai-kinori (Sulcaria sulcata) was also introduced as having the seaweed flavor.

6. It seems that the taste of lichens can be classified into four categories: slightly sweet, bitter, seaweed-like, and no-taste. Now, what kind of lichen has those tastes? And, how are those lichens edible? Table 1 is the summarized information of edible lichens in Japan. It also includes the information about the same species of lichens eaten also in overseas countries. In terms of lichen teas, please refer to Takagi (1984). Before some ways of chemical examinations to identify species are found, our predecessors chewed lichens, but this way of examination is not popular anymore. Probably, the lichens in the same genus and having the same components might possess similar taste and texture if they are cooked in a similar manner. If we consider in this way, the list of edible lichens will expand. For how to cook lichens, please refer to Yoshida (1986).

7. I am the most interested in “lichen cigarette” in Table 1. Because Nayonayo saruogase (Usnea himalayana) has a thin skin layer and slender stem, it will nicely burn if it is dried well.

8. Lastly, we must remember that lichens include some poisonous species as well just as mushrooms. For example in North America, Europe, and North Africa, Ookami-goke (Wolf lichen) has been used to kill wolves (Purvis 2000). Konahaimatsu-goke (Vulpicida pinastri) and Kett-goke (Dictyonema sericeum) are also known as poisonous lichens (Smith 1972; Hale 1983). Also, Dr. Kurokawa introduces us the information that the species which includes sky-lin* are also poisonous.

9. Although I do not know how many of the reader of this article will agree with my promotion of the culture of eating lichens, I would like to enjoy this profound world of the edible lichens and their cooking.

From the translator:

  • Bolded words are the names of chemical compound, which I don’t know and also not available in my English-Japanese dictionary.

Osgood 1959

Osgood, C. (1959). "Ingalik mental culture." Yale University Publications in Anthropology 56.

Cladonia rangiferina, along with any other lichen found in the stomachs of caribou, was eaten by the Ingalik as stomach ice cream. The undigested lichen is taken out of the caribou’s rumen and put in a dish. Raw, mashed fish eggs of any kind are added. The mixture is then thoroughly stirred like ice cream (frozen as well?). It tastes strong but is eaten by men, women, and children and is a favorite dish.

Osorio 1982

Osorio, H. S. (1982). "Contribution to the lichen flora of Uruguay XVII. The scientific name of the "Yerba de la Piedra"." Phytologia 52: 217-220.

Usnea densirostra (previously misidentified as U. hieronymi) is called Yerba de la Piedra (Stone grass) in Uruguay. It was used medicinally.

Oswalt 1957

Oswalt, W. H. (1957). "A western Eskimo ethnobotany." Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 6: 16-36.

Cetraria crispa was called aouq (aouk’) by the Yupik (southwest Alaska). It was chopped up and added to various soups as a flavouring. Cetraria cucullata was called ninguujuq (would like to be stretched) by the Yuqpik. It was also used as a soup condiment, for fresh fish or duck soup, but was mainly known as caribou food. Wilson, 1979, and Oswalt, 1957. Hawkes (1913) cited in Oswalt (1957) records eating this.

Nephroma arcticum was called kusskoak (kus’koak) by the Yuqpik (Inuit of southwest Alaska). They were uncommon, but found on or near decaying trees. They were collected and then stored until winter, when it was boiled with crushed fish eggs and eaten. It was also made into an infusion with hot water and fed to a person in weak condition to make him strong. It was reputed to be a very effective medicine. Wilson, 1979, and Oswalt, 1957.

Cladina sp. (reindeer moss) was called tuntutnu'kaik (reindeer food) but apparently not used.

Palmer 1975

Palmer, G. (1975). "Shuswap Indian Ethnobotany." Syesis 8: 29-81.

Pardanani et al. 1976

Pardanani, D. S., R. J. DeLima, R. V. Rao, A. Y. Vaze, P. G. Jayatilak and A. R. Sheth (1976). "Study of the effects of speman on semen quality in oligospermic men." Indian Journal of Surgery 38: 34-39.

Spemen is an indigenous preparation that contains a number of different plant products, one of which is Parmelia parlata (Chharila). It was orally administered in the dose of 2 tablets 3 times a day for 3 months to a group of 40 infertile oligospermic men.

They found a large improvement in 27 cases and a moderate improvement in 9 cases. In these 36 cases the semen went from being infertile to having a fertile profile. There was no improvement in the remaining 4 cases. No side effects were observed that are characteristic of conventional steriod drug therapy.

The authors note that this lichen (or possibly Chharila in general, a name which can also be applied to other lichens) is bitter, astringent, resolvent, demulcent, and also considered a diuretic, soporific, and sedative. They also note it is used in spermatorrhoea, as well as having a general tonic effect.

Parry 1871

Parry, C. C. (1871). "Food products of the North American Indians." Report of the U. S. Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1870 [Washington](8): 404-428.

Author also reported as: Palmer, E. Dodge, J. R.

Journal also reported as: USDA Annual Report Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture (1870)

No. 8 in a volume of 12

Bearded moss (Alectoria jubata) - the Indians residing on the Columbia River, according to Dr. Morse in his report on Indian affairs to the War Department for 1822, subsist in summer on a kind of bread made of the long hair-like lichen which grows on the spruce fir-tree, and which resemblres spiders' webs in fineness. To prepare it for food, it is fathered from the tree, laid in heaps, sprinkled with water, and then let for some time to ferment. It is next rolled up into balls as large as a mans head, and baked for an hour in ovens in the earth. When taken out it is fit for use, but it is neither palatable nor nutritious.

Diggers of California and the plains catch grasshoppers in great numbers. When the insect is at its best condition they dig several little pits shaped like an inverted funnel, the apeture being narrower at the surface. They then form a big circle and light the grass on fire and the grasshoppers are coralled in the pit of roasted at the edges. Mixed with ground acorns. Also sometimes put in sacks saturated with salt and placed in a heated trench covered with hot stones for 15 minutes. Then eaten as shrimp, or ground and put in soup or mush.

The Diggers of California also eat ants, crickets, and lichens.

Natives eat the larva of a large fly which deposits its eggs along the frothy edge o Mon. Lake in California, called ke-chah-re.

The Pimo eat tobacco worms.

Morse, Jedidiah. 1822. Report to the Secretary of War of the United States on Indian Affairs, Comprising a Narrative of a Tour Performed in the Summer of 1820, Under a Commission from the President of the United States, for the Purpose of Ascertaining, for the Use of the Government, the Actual State of the Indian Tribes in our Country. Davis & Force, Washington, D.C. (Many other publishers, republished St. Clair Shores, Mich., Scholarly Press, 1972). UVIC E77 M88

Pennington 1963

Pennington, C. W. (1963). The Tarahumar of Mexico: their environment and material culture. Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press.

Perez-Llano 1944

Perez-Llano, G. A. (1944). "Lichens: their biological and economic significance." The Botanical Review 10(1): 1-65.

Lichens also shown to contain ergosterol

Most of lichen carbohydrates are polysaccharides. After hydration this produces several sugars, cellulose, chitosan, glucosamine, and inulin. Only the monosaccarides directly available for metabolism.

Pringsheim and Kusenack cited in Llano show lichen 2.64% ash. Wallerstein cited in Llano showed that white mice digested 53-64% of lichenin. Dannfelt cited in Llano found 1 to 8% protein in lichen

Lichens have Lapponian names. (Lynge1921, cited in Perez-Llano 1944)

Cladonia rangiferina, Cladonia alpestris, Cladonia sylvatica, Cetraria islandica, Cetraria crispa, Cetraria delisei, and Stereocaulon spp. are preferred forage of reindeer in the field. These are reffered to as jaegel by the Lapplanders.

Alectoria spp. and other Alectoreae and Usneae beard forms of lichen are quite liked by reindeer, but do not form a huge part of their diet. The Lapplanders call these lichens lappo.

Parmeleae and Gyrophoreae grow on rocks and trees and are eaten when no other lichens are available. These are called gadna by the Lapplanders.

Mosses are known to be something different.

These lichens are directly used by the Lapplanders (Saami People) of northern Scandanavia who herd reindeer, and indirectly by Eskimo and northern Indians that live off caribou, wood buffalo, musk-ox, and other animals of the arctic that feed on the lichens. In 1916 they had problems with overgrazing around Finmarken, and had to pass regulations and enforce them for some time. (Lynge1921, cited in Perez-Llano 1944)

Lapplanders recognize that overgrazing and trampling can drastically reduce lichen cover, and change species compoisition. Stereocaulon paschale is an increaser under grazing pressure, Cladonia alpestris is a decreaser. A specific succession of lichen species after disturbance, like fire, trampling, overgrazing. Reindeer prefer the younger lichens. (Lynge1921, cited in Perez-Llano 1944)

Usually about 700 kg of Cetraria islandica per square km. Cladonia alpestris can have much higher yields, must productive areas can have up to 1400 to 1500 kg per 1000 square meters.

Harvested when wet so it is not brittle, about 40-70% water. Saami would clear away broad strips of lichen because this would improve production. Saami would only harvest one quarter of the lichen, Norwegian farmers take two thirds. Farmers bundled up, transported, dried, and stored for feeding livestock.

Takes about thirty years to regenerate a field after it has been harvested. Require about 15 - 56 ha of land to support 10 cows if they were just fed lichen. An addition of lichen to livestock diet is beneficial.

Lichen has been found to yeild up to 61% carbohydrates, but must remove bitter principle. Soak in water for 24 hours, or add potassium carbonate to speed it up. Sometimes mixed with hot water and salt and straw. This removes fumarprotocetraric and other acids from the lichen.

Cetraria islandica has 3.35 times more carbohydrate than potatoes, and Cladonia rangiferina has 2.5 times. (Hesse 1916, cited in Perez-Llano 1944)

Prehistoric remains near Lake Constance in Switzerland show that lichens were used as fodder even back then.

Lichens named for their medicinal abilities. Comes from the Greek ‘leprous’, and refers to their use in treating cutaneous diseases. As applied to hepatics.

In the 15th century lichens became very popular as medicine because of the signature theory. Usnea, Lobaria, Xanthoria, Peltigera, Evernia, Parmelia, Cladonia, Roccella, Pertusaria, and Physcia were used to strengthen hair, cure jaundice, cure ‘thrush’, control fevers, diarrhea, infections, skin diseases, epilepsy, convulsions, as purgatives, hydrophobia, hemorrages, asthma, lung troubles. Most of this appears to have been obsolete by 1800.

Lecanora esculenta may have been the biblical manna. It is still eaten by some desert tribes, being mixed with meal to one-third its weight. It gets blown by high winds into the lowlands where the thalli form little hummocks. As recently as 1891 there was an abundant fall of this manna in Turkey.

Cetraria islandica probably the most important lichen for human food. Occasionally sold comercially in Iceland and Scandanavia, sold as Iceland Moss. Preparation involves the removal of foreign material and soaking, it is then dried and powdered. It is boiled as a broth, which sets to jelly when it cools. Milk is added. This is then used as a base for various soups and other delicacies, said to be good for dyspeptics. It might be made into a bread, porridge, or gruel. Mixed with cereals or mashed potatoes and made a very healthy bread. The lichen was called brødmose. It was also mixed with ship’s flour to make the bread less friable and less subject to weevil attack. This lichen, along with other reindeer mosses, was mixed with rye and made into a bread in times of famine. Tasted like wheat bran, but with a hot taste.

Poulsson (1906; cited in Perez-Llano 1944) made bread from both Cetraria islandica and Cetraria nivalis and tested them on humans. Between 46 and 49% of the carbohydrates in Cetraria islandica were digested, but Cetraria nivalis caused such intestinal disturbances that the experiment had to be stopped.

In 1737 Linnaeus considered Cetraria islandica to be a very important medicine. It was used in chronic affections as an emollient and tonic. More recently it was used as a substitute for salve bases in the preparation of emulssions, the reduction of bitter taste in certain drugs, as a laxative, and as a culture medium for bacteria (Piorkowski 1916 cited in Perez-Llano 1944). Cetraric acid of this lichen was found to have no ill effects on animals when fed to them or injected into their blood. It did induce peristaltic movement in the intestine. Has also been used as a nerve excitant.

Cetraria pinastri and Cetraria juniperina both contain pinastrinic acid and were used to poisen wolves in the same way as Letharia vulpina, by mixing with ground glass. The only other known lichen substance to be able to kill animals.

Everia prunastri and Evernai furfuracea were used by ancient Egyptians to make bread. There is still some importation of these lichens to Europe as a fermentative agent. Forstal in the 19th century saw several consignments from the Islands of Archipelago for Alexandria.

Evernia furcuracea has been found in an Egyptian vase from the 18th Dynasty (1700-1600BC). It is still sold in Egypt with Cetraria islandica as foreign drugs, being imported from Europe.

In 15th century Europe Evernia prunastri, and Evernia furfuracea, along with Parmelia physodes, were the main ingredients in the “Lichen quercinus virdes”, a drug used in Europe in the 15th century. Senft 1911, cited in Perez-Llano 1944.

Evernia furfuracea has been found to absorb enough chlorine to be harmful.

In 15th century Europe Lobaria pulmonaria was viewed as a cure for lung problems. It was regarded by some as an excitant, tonic, and astringant, and so was recommended as a cure for hemorrhages and asthma.

A Parmelia species is used as food, generally a curry powder, and as medicine, in India.

In 15th century Europe Parmelia physodes, along with Evernia prunastri, and Evernia furfuracea, were the main ingredients in the “Lichen quercinus virdes”, a drug used in Europe in the 15th century. Senft 1911, cited in Perez-Llano 1944.

In 15th century Europe Parmelia saxatilis (but perhaps a Physcia), when it was growing on a human skull, was called “Muscus cranii humanii”. It was used as a cure for epilepsy, and was worth its weight in gold.

Parmelia molliuscula can absorb enough selenium salt from its environment to be harmful to animals. Parmelia saxatilis can absorb enough beryllium to be harmful.

In 15th century Europe Peltigeria canina was sold by the famous Dr. Mead as “pulvus antilyssus”, a cure for hydrophobia. Peltigera aphthosa was used as a cure for children suffering from ‘thrush’.

In 15th century Europe Pertusaria communis was used as a cure for intermittant fever, and was much more effective on men than women.

Umbilicaria spp. was called Tripe de Roche or Rock Tripe by the French Courreur de Bois of boreal America because they used it in periods of emergency. Franklin recorded it in his diary as the main course of many of his meals.

In 15th century Europe Usnea barbata was used as a medicine to strengthen hair, because of its long filiments. Hippocrates prescribed it for uterine ailments. The natives of the Malay Peninsula still use it for colds and strengthenning after confinement.

In 15th century Europe Xanthoria parietina was used as a cure for jaundice.

Xanthoria parietina can absorb enough beryllium from the environment to harmful to animals.

Pojar and MacKinnon 1994

Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon (1994). Plants of Coastal British Columbia: Including Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Vancouver, British Columbia, Lone Pine Publishing.

Porsild 1953

Porsild, A. E. (1953). "Edible plants of the arctic." Arctic 6(1): 15-34.

Powers 1877

Powers, S. (1877). Chapter XXXVIII. Aboriginal Botany. Contributions to North American Ethnology, Department of the Interior, U. S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region. Volume III. Tribes of California. Washington, Government Printing House: 419-.

Prance 1972

Prance, G. T. (1972). "Ethnobotanical notes from Amazonian Brazil." Economic Botany 26: 221-237.

A pyrenocarpous lichen is called baduhu-tsinã (deer snuff) and is used as a snuff by the Denís of Amazonian Brazil. The yellow powder of the medulla on the surface of the lichen is collected from the tree trunks where it grows. The powder is then sniffed in small quantities. The Denís use it frequently and it induces sneezing. Does not appear to have a narcotic effect.

Pulliainen 1971

Pulliainen, E. (1971). "Nutritive values of some lichens used as food by reindeer in northeastern Lapland." Annales Zoologici Fennici 8: 385-389.

Rashan et al. 1990

Rashan, L. J., M. T. Ayoub, L. Alomar and R. Alkhayatt (1990). "Vulpinic acids inhibit influenza (RNA) viruses but not herpes (DNA) viruses." World Journal Of Microbiology & Biotechnology 6(2): 155-158.


Ravenhill 1938

Ravenhill, A. (1938). The Native Tribes of British Columbia. Victoria, B. C., King's Printer.

Ray 1932

Ray, V. F. (1932). "The Sanpoil and Nespelem: Salishan peoples of northeastern Washington." University of Washington Publications in Anthropology 5.

[about Sanpoil-Nespelem]

Pine lichen, (sqwal’i´p). This lichen (sometimes called pine moss) was to be found in great quantities hanging from the limbs of pines. It formed an important food product which could be obtained at any time of he year. The lichen was cleaned by hand of extraneous matter but was not washed or soaked. After cleaning it was placed in the roasting pit in alternate layers with wild onion [Allium sp.] and camas [Quamashia sp.], or with the onion alone. After two or three days’ cooking a dark coloured, gelatinous mass was produced. This was cut into slices for immediate use, or for drying and storage. The dried product was prepared or consumption by boiling with restored it to very much its state before drying.

This food was one to the best liked of all vegetable preparations. The lichen is said to have sweetened the concoction.

Ray 1963

Ray, V. F. (1963). Primitive pragmatists: The Modoc Indians of northern California. Seattle, University of Washington Press.

Raymond 1945

Raymond, M. (1945). "III. - Notes ethnobotaniques sur les Tête-de-Boule de manouan." Contributions de l'Institut Botanique de l'Université de Montréal 55: 113-154.

Gyrophora dillenni was considerec to be a very important female medicine to the Cree (Tête-de-Boule). They called it asine-wakunik. During a difficult childbirth, the lichen would be boiled in water and then placed on the woman’s genitals.

Razzack and Fazal 1993

Razzack, H. M. A. and H. M. U. Fazal (1993). The Concept of Birth Control in Unani Medicine. New Dehli, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.

Rea 1997

Rea, A. M. (1997). At the Desert's Green Edge: An Ethnobotany of the Gila River Pima. Tucson, The University of Arizona Press.

Richardson 1975

Richardson, D. H. (1975). The Vanishing Lichens: Their History and Importance. London, David & Charles.

Richardson 1988

Richardson, D. H. S. (1988). Medicinal and other economic aspects of lichens. CRC Handbook of Lichenology. M. Galun. 3: 93-108.

Richardson 1991

Richardson, D. H. S. (1991). Lichens and man. Frontiers in Mycology: honorary and general lectures from the Fourth International Mycological Congress, Regensburg, Germany, 1990. D. L. Hawksworth. Wallingford, Oxon, UK, C. A. B. International: 187-210.

Rink and Lindorff 1856

Rink and J. F. T. Lindorff (1856). Help to the patients. Greenland.

Robbins 1987

Robbins, C. T. (1987). "Digestibility of an arboreal lichen by mule deer." Journal of Range Management 40(6): 491-492.

Rowe et al. 1991

Rowe, J. G., M. T. Saenz, M. D. Garcia and A. M. Gil (1991). "New study of antimicrobial activity and identification of lichenical substances of some lichens from south Spain." Annales Pharmaceutiques Françaises 49(5): 278-285.

Written in French with short English summary.

Usnea sp., Cladonia mediterranea, Cladonia convoluta, Cladonia foliacea, Xanthoria parietina, Ramalina polymorpha, Physcia sp., Parmelia caperata, Peltigera canina, and Lasallia pustulata are tested for antimicrobial activity. Tested for inhibiting growth of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella thyphimurium. Also tested to see what lichen compounds were present. Tested for usnic acid, evernic acid, ursolic? atranorin, parietin, and orcinol, and found several other unidentified substances. Usnea sp. and Cladonia spp. were found to be most active against the widest variety of bacteria. Concluded that a very high activity was observed in lichens with usnic acid.

Saha et al. 1961

Saha, J. C., E. C. Savini and S. Kasinathan (1961). "Ecbolic properties of Indian medicinal plants." Indian Journal of Medical Research 49: 130-151.

Lists a variety of plants used in folk medicine in India as abortifacients and emmenagogues. Seven are tested on guinea pigs. Several have the same effect as oxytocin, with papaya being the most oxytocic.

The authors list Parmelia spp. as a treatment for amenorrhoea, but do not discuss it further, because by deffinition amenorrhoea is not do to pregnancy.

Abortifacient: A substance that causes pregnancy to end prematurely and causes an abortion Emmenagogue: A substance that induces/hastens/promotes menstrual flow. Ecbolic: A substance which by exciting uterine contractions promotes the expulsion of the contents of the uterus, causing childbirth or abortion. Amenorrhoea: The absence or discontinuation or abnormal stoppage of the menstrual periods (not do to pregnancy or advancing age)

Saklani and Upreti 1992

Saklani, A. and D. K. Upreti (1992). "Folk uses of some lichens in Sikkim." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 37: 229-233.

Sastri 1953

Sastri, R. L. N. (1953). "Lichens in food and industry." Journal of the Science Club (Calcutta) 7(2): 62-64.

In the Bellary district in India, a species of lichen known as Rathipuvvu ("Rock flower") is used as a curry powder and is esteemed as a delicacy. It is also used medicinally. It is usually collected in the summer months of April and May and forms a profitable business.

Descriptions of lichens used as food, dye, litmus, perfume.

Sato 1968

Sato, M. (1968). "An edible lichen of Japan, Gyrophora esculenta Miyoshi." Nova Hedwigia 16: 505-509.

A description of the preparation of Iwa-take, and of the ecology and morphology of the lichen.

Schade 1954

Schade, A. (1954). "Über Letharia vulpina (L.) VAIN. und ihre Vorkommen in der Alten Welt." Berichte der Bayerischen Botanischen Gesellschaft 30: 108-126.

Page 122

"R. Santesson sent Schade a blurb by (or about) a famous wolf hunter, Nilsson from the Samiland village Tossåsenm in northern Sweden. He wrote that the lichen is ripped and pulverized. If it's dry you have to over your nose or you will get nose bleeds. The powder is added to fat and flesh and warmed in a pan with wood fir, stir but don't burn. Afterwards add fresh blood and?cheese so it smells a lot. The poison is placed in a carcass between skin and muscle ior in muscle. Left over poison was saveds. A wolf who has swallowed the poison usually dies within 24 hours if he has not soon adfter eaten fresh blood. The poison is stronger the older and drier the lichen is."

The hunter inherited these practices from his father who also had his herd attacked by wolves. The poison lichen, he had saved it up in a leather sack, which the son inherited and gave as a gift to the museum.

Schenck and Gifford 1952

Schenck, S. M. and E. W. Gifford (1952). "Karok Ethnobotany." Anthropological Records [University of California Publications] 13(6): 377-392.

The generic term for mosses and lichens recorded by J. P. Harrington was used bu our informants also: 'asaxxé'm.

J. P. Harrington, Tobacco among the Karok Indians of California, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 94, pp. 47 ff., 1932.

Evernia vulpina, Tree Lichen, Karok manil maashaxaeme, "mountain moss." This lichen was found on Douglas Fir. The Karok soak it in water and use the decoction as a yhellow due for porcupine quills, which are worked into the design of some basket caps, but it is not used in other kinds of baskets.

Usnea barbata, Karok ashaxaeme. No use.

The Karok use of Letharia vulpina is recorded to be different than other tribes in California. The Karok use it for a dye, whereas in central California it is used for a medicine, no use recorded in southern California.

Schultes and Raffauf 1990

Schultes, R. E. and R. F. Raffauf (1990). The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia. Portland, Oregon, Dioscorides Press.

Scotter 1965

Scotter, G. W. (1965). "Chemical composition of forage lichens from northern Saskatchewan as related to use by barren-ground caribou." Canadian Journal of Plant Science 45: 246-250.

Scotter 1972

Scotter, G. W. (1972). "Chemical composition of forage plants from the reindeer preserve, Northwest Territories." Arctic 25(1): 21-27.

Shahi et al. 2001

Shahi, S. K., A. C. Shukla, A. Dikshit and D. K. Upreti (2001). "Use of lichen as antifungal drug against superficial fungal infections." Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences 22/4A & 23/1A: 69-72.

Extract of Everniastrum cirrhatum is tested for antifungal activity against a variety of human pathogenic fungi. Found to be effective, and to not cause irritation of mammalian skin.

Reports other studies of antifungal screening in different lichen species.

Sharnoff 1984

Sharnoff, S. D. (1984). "Lowly lichens offer beauty - and food, drugs and perfume." Smithsonian 15: 134-143.

An overview of the wonders of lichens, ecology, ethnobotany, etc.

Sharnoff 1997

Sharnoff, S. D. (1997). Lichens and people, Available online at <>.

Singh et al. 2000

Singh, K. K., D. K. Upreti and K. Kumar (2000). "Ethnobotanical notes on some lesser known Himalayan lichens." British Lichen Society Bulletin 86: 36-37.

Smith 1921

Smith, A. L. (1921). Chapter X. Economic and technical. Lichens, Cambridge University Press. Second edition published 1975 by The Richmond Publishing Co., Richmond, Surrey, England: pg. 395-420.

Smith 1973

Smith, G. W. (1973). "Arctic Pharmacognosia." Arctic 26: 324-333.

Cladina spp. (reindeer moss) was used by the Aleut (Alaska) as a medicine. It is taken as a tea for chest pains, and hunters who are climbing hills eat it to maintain their wind.

Smith 1923

Smith, H. H. (1923). "Ethnobotany of the Menomini Indian." Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 4(1): 1-174.

Sticta glomulerifera was used by the Menomini. They called it wakûn (he also spells it waku’n and wa’kun) (plural wakûnûk, also spelled wakûnû’k). It grows on many trees, but is only picked off hard maple or hemlock trees. It is gathered in any season and put away dry. It is used in soups, and it swells like Irish moss. It is quite liked, and valued for its tonic effect on the system and the blood. It is a food, but probably not that nutritious, it is more eaten as a medicine for run down systems.

Lichens are said to be scabs from the head of Mä’näpus, and he put them there to keep his uncles and aunts from starving. Another version is that they were scabs from when he burned his buttocks, and they came off as he slid down a slanting rock. Smith, 1923, pg 21 and 60

According to Yarnell, Smith (1923: pg. 60) says that Sticta amplissima was used by the Menomini. They would collect this lichen, along with other lichens, in any season and dry it for future use. Yarnell says this is similar to Ojibwa use.

Smith 1933

Smith, H. H. (1933). "Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians." Bulletin of the Publi Museum of the City of Mil 7(1): 1-230.

Parmelia physodes growing on spruce trees was called wa’kwûnûk [lit. “egg bush”] by the Potawatomi. They would only use lichens growing on spruce trees. The lichen would be eaten raw as a cure for constipation. It was also soaked or boiled in water until it swelled somewhat and used as a food. When cooked into a soup it has a pleasant flavour.

Spier et al. 1938

Spier, L., W. B. Cline, R. S. Commons and M. Mandelbaum (1938). The Sinkaietk or Southern Okanagon of Washington Contributions from the Laboratory of Anthropology, 2. General Series in Anthropology, No. 6. Menasha, Wisconsin, George Banta Publishing Co.

Spier and Sapir 1930

Spier, L. and E. Sapir (1930). "Wishram ethnography." University of Washington Publications in Anthropology 3(3): 151-300.

ik!u'nuc, a black hair-like moss found on fir trees in the mountains. Gatherd at any season but especially in the fall. Cleaned witht he fingers, soaked for a long time and washed very clean. This was mixed with wild onions (ilq!la'uwaitk) and pit-roasted. It was placed in the pit, which contained hot stones, between dry pine needles which were first wetted. A fire was bult over the pit as well. It was allowed to roast for two das. This was then formed into cakes.

Spinden 1907-1915

Spinden, H. J. (1907–1915). "The Nez Perce Indians." Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association 2: 165-274.

Alectoria spp. growing on pine trees, probably Bryoria fremontii, was boiled and eaten by the Nez Perce in times of famine. Vol. 5, pg. 4 of Lewis and Clark (1806) cited in Spinden (1908).

Stahlschmidt 1870

Stahlschmidt (1870). "Preparation of Spirits from Lichens." Chemical News and Journal of Physical Science 22: 23.

Stahlschmidt (1870) recommends lichen for use for alcohol to save grain. He states that lichen can be used for fermenting and describes the process at length. “The cellulose of the lichens or moss is converted to glucose by boiling with from 7 to 10 percent of the weight of the mass of hydrochloric acid (sp. gr. 1˙165) by the aid of steam; the acid is saturated with chalk, and the saccharine matter brought to fermentation.” 20 pounds of lichen could yield 5 L of 50% alcohol.

This is a summary of the original article published in April 1870 in the journal Bayerisches Industrie und Gewerbe Blatt.

Stenberg 1868

Stenberg, S. (1868). "Om användandet lafvar såsom material för fram ställning af drufsocker och alkohol (translation: Using lichens for the production of grape-sugar and alcohol." Öfversight af Kongl Vetenskaps-Akademiens Förhandlingar 25(1): 17-28.

Stern 1934

Stern, B. J. (1934). The Lummi Indians of Northwest Washington. New York, Columbia University Press.

Stubbs 1966

Stubbs, R. D. (1966). An investigation of the edible and medicinal plants used by the Flathead Indians. Missoula, Montana, University of Montana. M. A. thesis.

Subiyay 2003

Subiyay, (Bruce Miller) (2003). Personal communication. Pers. comm. to S. Crawford. April 29 and October 16, 2003.

Subramanian 1965

Subramanian, S. S. (1965). "Lichens and their food value." Journal of Nutrition & Dietetics 2: 217-222.

Subramanian and Ramakrishnan 1964

Subramanian, S. S. and S. Ramakrishnan (1964). "Amino-acids of Peltigera canina." Current Science 33: 522.

Peltigera canina is used as a food, a tonic, and in liver complaints in the Himalayas. It has up to 21% protein with appreciable amounts of riboflavin and phosphorus. Lichens were tested from the Chamoli District in the Himalaya. Peltigera canina contains 9 free amino acids, of which 5 are essential, and 4 more acid and alkali hydrolysates of amino acids, of which 3 are essential. Its food value and use in liver complaints could be due to its high protein and essential amino acid content. It contains free methionine, which could be particularly significant. Free essential amino acids: leucine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, and methionine. Combined essential amino acids: isoleucine, tryptophan, and lysine.

Interestingly, contains all the essential amino acids except for histidine, and almost in the perfect ratio recommended, not quite enough leucine or methionine (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2002).

Swartz 1911

Swartz, M. D. (1911). "Nutritional investigations on the carbohydrates of lichens, algae, and related substances." Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Science 16: 249-382.

Pages 253, 260, 262, 263, 301-305

Some pentasans (anhydride of pentose) are digested by humans. Galactose least digestible of the sugars. Mannoses seem readily digesstible, with d-mannose being the easiest to digest. Experiments done on the digestibility of lichenin and isolichenin after Külz suggested in 1874 that these carbohydrates could be eaten as substitute carbohydrates by diabetics.

Lichens yield the dextrans lichenin (soluble in hot water), isolichenin (soluble in cold water, turns iodine purple), usnin, evernin. 80-90% of total carbohydrates of Cetraria islandica are lichenin and isolichenin. Both yield dextrose on hydrolysis. Animal enzymes do not hydrolyze lichenin. Experiments on dogs, rabbits, and humans show that lichenin from Cetraria islandica is not digested. With human trials the lichen was treated with potassium carbonate to remove the bitterness, and thoroughly washed, dried, and ground. This preparation contained 72.5% dextrose. It was only 15% digested. Suggests that uncooked Cetraria islandica is not digestable.

Dr. Hansteen, who was the chief lecturer in the Agricultural School at Aas, Norway in 1911, prophesized that lichen was to become the great popular food of the masses, because of its cheapness and nutritive properties. Cetraria islandica was 0.32% protein, 1.2% fat, 2.2% ash, 43.3% nitrogen free extract (carbohydrate), and 5.3% crude carbohydrate. Notable amounts of calcium and potassium phosphates. Cetraria and Ramalina fraxinea found to contain lichenin, Evernia prunastre contains evernin, and Usnea barbata contains usnin. Cetraria islandica and Evernia prunastre contain glucose, galactose, pentoses, and methyl pentoses. Cladonia rangiferina contained mannose as well. Stereocaulon pascale, Peltigera aphthosa, and Cornicularia aculeata all conain d-galactose and d-mannose, as well as pentoses and methyl pentoses. Usnea barbata contained the same carbohydrates, plus glucose.

Søchting 1990

Søchting, U. (1990). "Naparsimasonut ikiortiksat. Cetraria islandica as health diet in 19th century Greenland." Graphis Scripta 3(1): 24.

A translation of a booklet from 1856, in Greenland, on use of Cetraria islandica as medicinal food. Originally a 20pp booklet written by Rink and J. F. T. Lindorff. Translated into English by Frederik Nielsen Reprinted in 1973 by Anders Nyborg A/S Internatinal Editor Original copies, as well as the reprints, had a thallus of Cetraria islandica glued to one of the pages.

Teit 1906

Teit, J. A. (1906). The Lillooet Indians. American Museum of Natural History Memoir No. 4, New York, NY.

Teit 1909

Teit, J. A. (1909). The Shuswap. American Museum of Natural History Memoir No. 5. New York, NY.

Teit and Boas 1900

Teit, J. A. and F. Boas (1900). "The Thompson Indians of British Columbia. American Museum of Natural History Memoir No. 2."

Pg 219 Used to make clothing by poorer people.

Pg 233. Alectoria jubata was much eaten, particularly by the lower division. [about Nlaka'pmx]

Pg 236. Food was boiled in baskets into which red-hot stones were thrown. It was roasted on spits in front of the fire, under ashes, or in underground ovens. Dried venison and dried berries were sometimes pounded together and mixed with hot deer-grease. This mixture was cooled in cakes and put into sacks, or wrapped up in bark or skin. A favorite dish was made of roots of a floury nature (generally bitter-root) and service-berries boiled together until soft and thick. A little deer-grease was then added, and the whole eaten with a spoon. Sometimes Alectoria was added and the deer-fat boiled with it.

Pg 237 Cactus and Alectoria, as well as many roots, were steamed in the following way: Before any branches were put into the hole, a stick from an inch and a half to two inches in diameter was planted perpendicularly in the ground, reaching considerably above the level of the hole. When everything was covered up, the stick was pulled out, leaving an aperture into which water was poured, causing steam to rise from the hot stones underneath. When sufficiently steamed, the usual fire was kindled on top.

Pg 370 Removing Warts. -- Warts were removed from the hands, fingers, or arms by cutting them off closed to the skin, and placing on the fresh wound black moss which had been exposed to the fire until hot.

Teit and Boas 1928

Teit, J. A. and F. Boas (1928). "The Salishan tribes of the western plateaus." Forty-Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1927-1928 45: 23-296.

Alectoria jubata is listed as a principal vegetal food of the Coeur D’Alêne. Teit says it was much used long ago. The Coeur D’Alêne name for it is sä’tc’Etct. It was cooked in pits similar to steam pits for cooking other roots, but the lichen was not steamed. It was cooked in a pit along with camas, onions, and other knids of roots. Hot stones, grass, roots, grass, bark, then earth. Fire built on top and kept going, sometimes for two days. Alectoria, and sometimes camas, was cooked in pits until it became a paste, which, when cooled, was cut into bricks of different sizes. Long ago Alectoria was generally cooked by itself, but in later times it was the custom to cook it with wild onions.

Alectoria jubata is also listed as a principal food of the Okanagan. They called it “skole--¯’p” (symbol over preceding letter). The Lillooet called black moss “a.wi¯’.a” (symbol over preceding letter).

Alectoria jubata is listed as a principal food of the Flathead. They called it skola’pkEn.

The Okanagan used Letharia vulpina as a dye and a medicine. They called it kware¯’uk (symbol over preceding letter).

Teit and Steedman 1928

Teit, J. A. and E. V. Steedman (1928). "Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia." Forty-Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1927-1928 45: 441-522.

The Thompson called Letharia vulpina kolomê’ka or kwalä’uk. It is used as a face paint by dipping it in water, or by wetting the face and using it dry. It was also used to paint wood.

The Swedes call it ulf-mossa. Powder it, mix it with glass, and smear it on dead animals to kill wolves. Also used as a dye.

Thieret 2004

Thieret, J. W. (2004). "Incredible edibles: Lichens." Lloydiana 8(1): 2-6.

Turner and Bell 1971

Turner, N. C. and M. A. M. Bell (1971). "The ethnobotany of the Coast Salish Indians of Vancouver Island." Economic Botany 25(1): 63-104.

Turner and Bell 1973

Turner, N. C. and M. A. M. Bell (1973). "The ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia." Economic Botany 27: 257-310.

Alectoria, Peltigera and Sticta, along with other lichens and mosses, were called p’elems and were used as household material for activities such as lining steaming pits and wiping blood and slime off salmon (washing or scraping the fish ruined the taste).

Peltigera canina was used as a love charm by the Southern Kwakiult (Boas 1921 cited in Turner and Bell 1973). It was called tl’extl’ekw’és (seaweed of the ground) or lexlek’is (echo). Turner and Bell 1973

Turner 1973

Turner, N. J. (1973). "The ethnobotany of the Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia." Syesis 6: 193-220.

Alectoria sarmentosa complex and Usnea spp. were called suts’wakt by the Bella Coola, or ipts-aak (limb moss, included mosses on tree branches as well). Were used as artificial hair to decorate masks. (Turner 1973). Were also used, if growing on alder, to poultice sores and boils (Smith 1928 cited in Turner 1973)

Lobaria pulmonaria, Lobaria oregana, and Sticta spp. were called sts’wakt-aak by the Bella coola (Turner 1973). Sticta, from certain trees only, was used as medicine. Boiled and decoction taken internally for pains in the stomach and externally as an eyewash and poultice (Smith 1928 cited in Turner 1973).

Turner 1974

Turner, N. J. (1974). "Plant taxonomic systems and ethnobotany of three contemporary Indian groups of the Pacific Northwest." Syesis 7(1): 1-104.

Name of B. fremontii often translates as tree hair.

The Haida call mosses k’ínxaan or k’ínnaan; the Bella Coola call ground mosses and lichens ipst, and tree ones ipst-aak; Lillooet call mosses pá7sem.

Turner 1977

Turner, N. J. (1977). "Economic importance of black tree lichen (Bryoria fremontii) to the Indians of western North America." Economic Botany 31: 461-470.

Thorough description of use of Bryoria fremontii for food. Discusses use by: Carrier, Chilcotin, Tsimshian, Coeur d'Alêne, Columbia-Wenatchi, Flathead-Kalispel-Spokane, Gitksan, Klamath, Kootenay, Loillooet, Nez Perce

Bryoria fremontii important food source in western North America. Related species used for food, clothing, dye, and as medicine. Wide discrepancy in what people say it tastes like, ranging from very good to disgusting. Possibly do to variation in lichen compounds or preparation. Bulk harvesting, so there was probably more than one species being harvested. Several people say that the only way to tell if an area has good lichen is to sample it first. Send people out to different mountain slopes to collect samples, and get mothers and grandmothers to taste it. If it was sweet and not bitter they would go harvest large quantities. Could be gathered at any time of year. Some collected it in June, others in the fall.

Some said that the tree it was growing on affected the taste. Shuswap and Northern Okanagan prefered lichen from Douglas-fir and western larch, and thought that the pines gave it an unpleasant pitchy flavor. Nez Perce preferred it from pondorosa pine and western larch. Lichen from young trees was thought to be more bitter than from mature trees. The Nez Perce thought trees growing close to a river produced poorer tasting lichen, while trees growing further up a mountain produced better tasting lichens. Lichen harvested off tree, tied into large bundles, and brought back to camp. It was cleaned of any twigs and dirt that was entangled in it, and then soaked for several hours or overnight in fresh water, preferably running water like in a creek. Sometimes it was worked with the hands or beaten with a paddle while it was being soaked. The lichen was then cooked in a large pit. Pit lined with red hot rocks, layers of damp vegetation placed over rocks (moss, ferns, skunk cabbage, grasses, and/or conifer needles). The lichen was placed on top of that and covered with more vegetation and a thick layer of dirt. Often holes were left to add more water. The pit was left overnight, or for 2 or more days. The cooked lichen was one quarter its original volume, and a black gelatinous mass. Eaten immediately or dried. Can also be prepared by roasting it then boiling it, or just boiling it fresh, but most people say that this isn’t as good.

Turner 1978

Turner, N. J. (1978). Food plants of the British Columbia Indians. Part 2. Interior Peoples. Victoria, British Columbia, British Columbia Provincial Museum Handbook No. 36.

Turner 1998

Turner, N. J. (1998). Plant Technology of First Peoples in British Columbia. Royal British Columbia Museum Handbook. Vancouver, British Columbia, UBC Press.

Turner and Bouchard 1974

Turner, N. J. and R. Bouchard (1974). Mount Currie and Fraser River Lillooet Ethnobotany. Victoria, BC, Unpublished manuscript. British Columbia Indian Language Project.

Turner et al. 1980

Turner, N. J., R. Bouchard and D. I. D. Kennedy (1980). "Ethnobotany of the Okanagan-Colville Indians of British Columbia and Washington." Occasional Papers of the British Provincial Museum 21: 1-179.

Turner and Clifton 2002

Turner, N. J. and H. Clifton (2002). Cultural Plants of Hartley Bay (Draft). University of Victoria. Victoria, BC. 53 pp.

Turner and Davis 1993

Turner, N. J. and A. Davis (1993). ""When everything was scarce": The role of plants as famine foods in northwestern North America." Journal of Ethnobiology 13(2): 171-201.

Bryoria fremontii was considered as a luxury by the Flathead of Montana, especially when mixed with dried powdered camas (Camassia quamash) (Stubbs 1966, cited in Turner and Davis 1993). Ray (1932: pg 104) cited in Turner and Davis (1993) classes it as one of the best liked vegetables of the Sanpoil-Nespelem Okanagan, when cooked with alternate layers of wild onion. Not as well liked as a food by the Lillooet as salmon was, as apparent in a story by Bouchard and Kennedy (1922: pg. 31) cited in Turner and Davis (1993). (Raven aquires a salmon during a food shortage and tries to hide his good fortune from the villagers by pretending that he only has black tree lichen bread, not salmon).

But not liked in other areas, perhaps do to variation in populations, or to contamination with other species. There are indications that the lichen varies greatly in taste, depending on the locality, elevation, and species of substrate tree (Turner 1977; and Marshall 1977 cited in Turner and Davis 1993). Preparation techniques likely had a great effect on the palatability. Could be eaten raw and unprocessed in times of need (Turner and Davis 1993) but usually there was an extensive preperation. Havesting in quantity from pre-tasted populations, soaking in fresh water for several hours or overnight, pounding or working with the hands, and then pit cooking (Marshall 1977 cited in Turner and Davis 1993; Turner 1977; and Turner et al. 1980). The cooked lichen loaves were then dried, and could be stored for up to 3 years without deterioration. They were said to be a good sustainer on long trips (Turner, 1978). Most people agree that cooking was necessary to make the lichen palatable, this was probably breaking down the complex lichen carbohydrates into more readily digestible forms (Turner and Davis 1993).

In times of scaricity the Kootenay would boil it with the stomach contents or droppings of grouse for flavoring (Hart 1976, cited in Turner and Davis 1993).

The unprocessed lichen could be stored dry and then brought out to eat when it was needed (Turner and Davis 1993).

It appears that it was a standard food in some areas, normally consumed but probably became more important during famines. Nlaka’pamux, Lilooet, and other interior peoples probably used it in this way (Turner 1977; Turner et al. 1990; Kuhnlein and Turner 1991, cited in Turner and Davis 1993; Turner and Davis 1993).

In other areas it would only be eaten minimumally normally, but increased in importance in famines (Kuhnlein and Turner 1991, cited in Turner and Davis 1993; Turner and Davis 1993).

The raw thallus was eaten as a famine food, never eaten except in cases of extreme hunger, by the Secwepemc (Turner and Davis 1993). It was also chewed as a thirst quencher by the Secwepemc (Turner and Davis 1993).

Turner and Efrat 1982

Turner, N. J. and B. S. Efrat (1982). "Ethnobotany of the Hesquiat Indians of Vancouver Island." Cultural Recovery Paper [British Columbia Provincial Museum, Victoria] 2.

Peltigera canina was remembered as a medicinal plant by the Hesquiat Nootka, but they didn’t remember a name.

Lobaria pulmonaria was called (tl)’ac(tl)’astuphc’um by the Hesquiat, and they used it as a medicine for children with sunburned faces.

Turner et al. 1983

Turner, N. J., J. Thomas, B. F. Carlson and R. T. Ogilvie (1983). "Ethnobotany of the Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island." Occasional Papers of the British Provincial Museum 24: 1-165.

Peltigera spp. was called (tl)’a(tl)’x7a·7aq (the ones flat against the rock) or (tl)’i·(tl)’i·dqwaqsibak’kw (resembling whale’s baleen).

Peltigera aphthosa may have been reffered to as t’it’idic˘c˘7a· (rocks growing on rocks), and chewed and eaten for tuberculosis by the Nitinaht.

A lichen like Peltigera spp., grey, growing on rocks, was used as medicine. Picked, washed, squashed, eaten. Used on man who couldn’t urinate, pissed in 30 min. (Turner et al. 1983)

Sticta spp. was called didi’dichia (growing on rocks) that was used as a medicine by the Makah. They mashed it and made a poultice that was used for running sores that were hard to heal. Especially for sores on the leg caused by bruises from walking among rocks. Densmore 1939 cited in Turner et al. 1983

Amoung the Nitinaht Alectoria sarmentosa complex and Usnea spp. were valued for their absorbant qualities, used for wound dressing, baby diapers, and sanitary napkins, and for wiping salmon. They were called p’u7up (lichen or moss), and were further named according to the kind of tree they were on. Usnea longissima was specifically used to dress wounds. It would be wrapped around the wound and left a while. Called indian bandage.

The Nitinaht refer to lichens and mosses as p’u7up. Peltigera spp. was not included in this group. Lichens growing on trees could be further differentiated by the branch that they grew on. A lichen on spruce was called tuxupati·c p’u7up, on hemlock q’wi(tl)’apati·c p’u7up, on grand fir c˘absapati·c p’u7up. The Hesquiat, Manhousat, and other Nootka peoples also had the same general term (Turner and Efrat 1982, Turner et al. 1983).

Turner et al. 1990

Turner, N. J., L. C. Thompson, M. T. Thompson and A. Z. York (1990). Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Victoria, British Columbia, Royal British Columbia Museum.

Turney-High 1937

Turney-High, H. H. (1937). "The Flathead Indians of Montana." Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association No. 48.

[About Flathead]

Pg 111 There is a parasitic pine lichen in the mountains which is considered an excellent condiment to be used with camas. It was gathered in July, some twenty-five pounds of the light stuff being considered essential for a very small family. The lichen was allowed to blacken on the tree before it was considered mature.

Pg 127 … a pit was dug, made as hot as possible by fire with stones to retain the heat, lined with sod and grasses thoroughly drenched with water to produce steam, filled with roots, covered with more sod, then earth, and a roaring fire built on top of all. … Camas was always cooked before being eaten or stored. Its taste in the raw is quite unpleasant. Occasionally it was cooked by itself, in which case it was dried and stored without pulverizing. In this state it was sometimes squeezed into little cakes which were subsequently dried and stored. Yet camas cooked plain was not the rule. Its chief blend was with the black lichen mentioned before, which baked with camas produces a black, gelatinous mass. This was later dried and pulverized. The lichen baked by itself was considered more of a tonic for the sick than a food.

Pg 158 Pine lichen: caúmtemkan or st’telu; skolápkan; skolkéin

Tuyama 1984

Tuyama, T. (1984). "Dr. Masami Sato 1910-1984." Journal of Japanese Botany 59(11): 350.

In Japanese.

Obituary for M. Sato, who did lots of work on edible lichens.

Filed with obituary by Syo Kurokawa

Uphof 1959

Uphof, J. C. T. (1959). Dictionary of Economic Plants. New York, Hafner Publishing Co.

Upreti 1996

Upreti, D. K. (1996). Studies in indian ethnolichenology - An overview. Ethnobiology in Human Welfare (Proceedings of IV International Congress of Ethnobiology). S. K. Jain. New Dehli, India, Deep Publications: 413-414.

Upreti 2001

Upreti, D. K. (2001). Taxonomic, pollution monitering and ethnolichenological studies on Indian lichens. Phytomorphology Golden Jubilee Issue 2001: Trends in Plant Sciences. N. S. Rangaswamy. Dehli, India, International Society of Plant Morphologists, Department of Botany, University of Dehli: 477-497.

Upreti and Negi 1996

Upreti, D. K. and H. R. Negi (1996). "Folk use of Thamnolia vermicularis (Swartz) Ach. in Lata Village of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve." Ethnobotany 8: 92-95.

"The Bhotias of the village generally store butter milk in wooden as well as earthen vessels. Its prolonged storage gives rise to white, 1-2 mm long worms. Peo[ple believe that this happens due to disgrace of bad people. They put a handful of podetia of this species in a wide cup containing burning coal, and direct the smoke into the vessel through its mouth, for killing the worms."

Also used as one of the ingredients in Hawan Samagri, which, in combination with many other materials, is used as an oblation and sacrificial offering to god and goddess through fire.

The samples that the authors tested only had thamnolic acid, although this species has been reported to contain other compounds in other areas.

Upreti et al. 2002

Upreti, D. K., V. Pant and P. K. Divakar (2002). "Exploitation of lichens from Pithoragarth district Uttaranchal." Ethnobotany 14: 60-62.

van Wyk and Gericke 2000

van Wyk, B.-E. and N. Gericke (2000). People's Plants: A Guide to Useful Plants of Southern Africa. Arcadia, South Africa, Briza Publications.

Velasco-Negueruela et al. 1995

Velasco-Negueruela, A., M. J. Pérez-Alonso and G. E. Abaraca (1995). "Medicinal plants from Pampallakta: an Andean community in Cuzco (Peru)." Fitoterapia 66(5): 447-461.

Reports that Ramalina flaccescens called "Papel-papel" by the Quechua in Pampallakta, Peru. An infusion of the entire lichen is taken internally as an antitussive. Thallus also chewed with coca leaves for magic rituals.

Vickery 1975

Vickery, A. R. (1975). "The use of lichens in well-dressing." Lichenologist 7: 178-179.

Parmelia saxatilis and Xanthoria parietina are used in well-dressing. Well-dressing started in the early 19th century, until recently restricted to the White Peak area of Derbyshire. Plant materials are used to create miniture scenes (often religious) in large trays (up to 3.7 m in length), and then these trays are placed at a well in town during the local well-dressing festival (in the summer), and left for several weeks. (the well is ‘dressed’). Parmelia saxatilis is refered to as grey lichen or grey moss, and Xanthoria parietina is referred to as gold lichen or gold moss.

Vogel 1970

Vogel, V. J. (1970). American Indian Medicine. Norman, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Press.

Wennekens 1985

Wennekens, A. J. (1985). Traditional plant usage by Chugach Natives around Prince William Sound and on the Lower Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska, University of Alaska: 111.

Wheelwright 1935

Wheelwright, E. G. (1935). The Physick Garden: Medicinal Plants and their History. New York, Reprinted in 1974 as Medicinal Plants and Their History. Dover Publications, Inc.

Wilkes 1845

Wilkes, C. (1845). Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Vol IV. Philadelphia, Lea and Blanchard.

Wilson 1979

Wilson, M. R. (1979). "Notes on ethnobotany in Inuktitut." The Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology 8(2,3,4): 180-196.

Cetraria crispa was called aouq (aouk’) by the Yuqpik (Inuit of southwest Alaska). It was chopped up and added to various soups as a flavouring. Cetraria cucullata was called ninguujuq (would like to be stretched) by the Yuqpik. It was also used as a soup condiment, for fresh fish or duck soup, but was mainly known as caribou food. Wilson, 1979, and Oswalt, 1957. Hawkes (1913) cited in Oswalt (1957) records eating this.

Cladonia rangiferina was called tuntutnuukaik (reindeer food) by the Yuqpik Inuit of southwest Alaska, but wasn’t used for anything. The Ungava-Labrador Inuit called it niqagasak.

Caribou mosses, such as Alectoria ochroleuca, Alectoria nigricans, Alectoria nitidula, and Cornicularia divergens were called tingaujaq by the Barrens-Keewatin, Baffin Island, Ungava-Labrador, and Greenland Inuit. They were known to be the favorite food of young caribou, and Inuit children would use them to lure fawns in to touch them. The North Slope Inuit (north coast of Alaska) call a “dry black moss” by the same name, and use it as tinder.

Unused yellow-green lichens, such as Cetraria nivalis and Dactylina arctica were called nagjjuujaq by the Barrens-Keewatin Inuit.

Nephroma arcticum was called kusskoak (kus’koak) by the Yuqpik (Inuit of southwest Alaska). They were uncommon, but found on or near decaying trees. They were collected and then stored until winter, when it was boiled with crushed fish eggs and eaten. It was also made into an infusion with hot water and fed to a person in weak condition to make him strong. It was reputed to be a very effective medicine. Wilson, 1979, and Oswalt, 1957.

Flat lichens, such as Parmelia saxatilis, Peltigera aphthosa, and Stereocaulon paschale were called quajuq by the Barrens-Keewatin Inuit. They were used, along with any other handy fill, to stuff caribou skins for rafts to cross inland streams to deep to ford.

An unidentified “type of white moss” found at Baker Lake was called uriugaq by the Barrens-Keewatin Inuit.

Yanovsky and Kingsbury 1938

Yanovsky, E. and R. M. Kingsbury (1938). "Analyses of some Indian food plants." Association of Official Agricultural Chemists 21(4): 648-665.

B. fremontii collected in Utah: 9.4% moisture, 24.8% dry weight lichenin (a starch), 0.3% reducing sugar, 0% non-reducing sugar, 51.7% dry weight hemicellulose, 1.6% dry weight ether extract, 5.5% dry weight protein, 4.3% dry weight crude fibre, and 1.6% dry weight ash. Specimens collected from Oregon were 9.6% moisture, 0% reducing sugar, 0% non-reducing sugar, 17.5% dry weight lichenin, and 35.4% hemicellulose.

Yarnell 1964

Yarnell, R. A. (1964). "Aboriginal relationships between culture and plant life in the upper Great Lakes region." Anthropological Papers [University of Michigan] 23: 1-.

Parmelia physodes was used by the Potawatomi (Upper Great Lakes) in a soup. Smith (1933: pg. 68) cited in Yarnell (1964).

Sticta amplissima was a favorite old food of the the Ojibwa. They called it jîngwakons wakun. They collected the lichen found at the base of white pine, and boiled it until it looked like scrambled eggs. Smith (1932: pg 406) cited in Arnarson (1981) and in Yarnell (1964). The Menomini also used it. They would collect this lichen, along with other lichens, in any season and dry it for future use. Smith (1923: pg. 60) cited in Yarnell (1964).

Umbilicaria spp. was eaten by the Algonkins. Blair (1911: pg. 102-103; cited in Yarnell 1964) wrote that most of their families would have starved without it.

Cladonia rangiferina was used by Ojibwa. Reagan (1928: pg 246) cited in Yarnell 1964

Yoshimura 1970

Yoshimura, I. (1970). "Lung lichens is "ATO" in Kapaukow language (New Guinea)." Miscellanea Bryologica et Lichenologica 5(5): 76.

Translation: Each local language has a particular name for Lobaria pulmonaria. He has researched about a specimen of Lobaria inn the Leiden Museam. He learned that Lobaria is called Ato in Kapaukoe language. This is a general name for the genus of Lobaria.

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