What is the meaning of lichen in science?
A lichen, or lichenized fungus, is actually two organisms functioning as a single, stable unit. Lichens comprise a fungus living in a symbiotic relationship with an alga or cyanobacterium (or both in some instances). There are about 17,000 species of lichen worldwide.
What is lichen short answer?
Lichens are compound plants as algae and fungi live together in close association, as a result of which both are benefited. This relationship is called symbiosis. They occur as greyish green growths on rocks, bark of the tree or on the ground.
What are characteristics of lichen?
A lichen consists of a simple photosynthesizing organism, usually a green alga or cyanobacterium, surrounded by filaments of a fungus. Generally, most of a lichen’s bulk is made of interwoven fungal filaments, although in filamentous and gelatinous lichens this is not the case. The fungus is called a mycobiont.
What are the two types of lichen?
There are three major types of lichen — crustose, foliose, and fructicose — each of which has its own shape, structure, and environmental preferences. Intermediate types include leprose and squamulose lichen, among others. These organisms may also be grouped by the kind of environment in which they prefer to grow.
How are lichens used by humans?
Throughout history, people have used lichens for food, clothing, dyes, perfume additives, medicines, poisons, tanning agents, bandaging, and absorbent materials. Compounds unique to lichens are used in perfumes, fiber dyes, and in medicines for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Which lichen is edible?
Edible lichens are lichens that have a cultural history of use as a food. Although almost all lichen are edible (with some notable poisonous exceptions like the wolf lichen, powdered sunshine lichen, and the ground lichen), not all have a cultural history of usage as an edible lichen.
How is lichen formed?
Lichens are formed from a combination of a fungal partner (mycobiont) and an algal partner (phycobiont). The fungal filaments surround and grow into the algal cells, and provide the majority of the lichen’s physical bulk and shape. For a lichen to reproduce, but the fungus and the alga must disperse together.