Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm.
Sticta pulmonaria (L.) Biroli
Lungwort, Tree Lungwort, Lung Lichen, Lung Moss, Oak Lungs
According to the ancient doctrine of signatures, plants that resembled portions of human anatomy were thought to be meant to cure those parts. Lungwort’s resemblance to lungs resulted in its attempted use as a cure for various respiratory ailments. It is found in North America as well as Asia, Europe and Africa, in damp old growth forests such as the pacific northwest. (There is another completely unrelated plant that is also called lungwort.)
Most lichens are “collaborations” between a fungus and an algae; while lungwort is a symbiosis of three unrelated plants, cyanobacteria being the third. The fungal component brings a tough protective cover to the plant, while the algae and cyanobacteria provide the power plant, via photosynthesis.
Identification: Lungwort’s leathery, leaflike lobes, spotted with depressions, look a little like a cross between oak leaves and seaweed. They are green when wet, like the fog-fed images at right, fading to olive brown when dry. The reproductive structures, called soredia and isidia, are visible as bumps in photo 5. Lungwort prefers damp areas.
Lobaria pulmonaria on Stephen Sharnoff Photography
Lobaria pulmonaria on Wikipedia
Lobaria pulmonaria at Alan Silverside's Lichen Pages on LastDragon.org
Lobaria pulmonaria at Stephen and Sylvia Sharnoff's lichen.com site
Lobaria pulmonaria on Discover Life
Lobaria pulmonaria on Wikispecies
Lobaria pulmonaria description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.