"Lichens of North America" by Irwin M.              Brodo

Lichens of North America Irwin M. Brodo, Sylvia Duran Sharnoff, Stephen Sharnoff

Publication date:
10 Sep 2001
Yale University Press
828 pages: 279 x 241mm
821 b-w + 927 color illus.

Lichens are a unique form of plant life, the product of a symbiotic association between an alga and a fungus. The beauty and importance of lichens have long been overlooked, despite their abundance and diversity in most parts of North America and elsewhere in the world. This stunning book—the first accessible and authoritative guidebook to lichens of the North American continent—fills the gap, presenting superb color photographs, descriptions, distribution maps, and keys for identifying the most common, conspicuous, or ecologically significant species.

The book focuses on 805 foliose, fruticose, and crustose lichens (the latter rarely included in popular guidebooks) and presents information on another 700 species in the keys or notes; special attention is given to species endemic to North America. A comprehensive introduction discusses the biology, structure, uses, and ecological significance of lichens and is illustrated with 90 additional color photos and many line drawings. English names are provided for most species, and the book also includes a glossary that explains technical terms. This visually rich and informative book will open the eyes of nature lovers everywhere to the fascinating world of lichens.

Irwin M. Brodo is emeritus research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, and is considered a world authority on lichens and their biology. Stephen Sharnoff is and the late Sylvia Duran Sharnoff was research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and research affiliate at the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. The Sharnoffs are both internationally renowned nature photographers and writers whose work has appeared in, among other places, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discover, and the New York Times.

"Nothing comparable with this gorgeously illustrated work exists. . . . This spectacular tome will serve as standard in the worldwide field of lichenology for the next two centuries, or until the final demise of all books. . . . [A] beautiful book. . . . A gift of world-class scholarship. . . . At its current artificially low price, all libraries, private and public, with even a remote interest in natural history, should obtain it now."—Times Higher Education Supplement

"A fascinating journey into the Lilliputian world of [lichens]. . . . Photographs by Stephen Sharnoff and Sylvia Duran Sharnoff capture the distinctive forms, brilliant colors or delicate hues of 804 species (out of 1050 discussed in the book). The Sharnoffs and Irwin M. Brodo have created a stunning guide for nature lovers."—Wall Street Journal (Gift Guide)

"A fascinating journey into the Lilliputian world of [lichens] . . . a stunning guide for nature lovers."—Wall Street Journal, Gift Guide

"Impressive. . . . The photographs in this book are of superb quality, both scientifically and aesthetically. Virtually, each of the photographs is unique and could be framed as a separate masterpiece in a gallery. . . . This book is a source of inspiration for those who have already got or are likely to get infected by lichen fever. . . . A refreshing book on lichens for a broad circle of readers."—International Lichenological Newsletter

"Of value to professionals and amateurs alike, this book is certain to be a classic reference for decades to come."—Library Journal (starred review)

"The publication of this wonderful new book and its numerous color photographs is indeed a major milestone in North American natural history. Although its size and its numerous color reproduction would certainly make it a suitable ’coffee table’ book, it is also much more than that. . . . The authors’ stated goal, which is to provide a full-color guide to North American lichens that is accessible to the novice but useful as well for experienced lichenologists, is admirably achieved. . . . Through their dedication and perseverance over a fifteen year period, the authors of this marvelous new book have succeeded in making another quantum leap improvement over the previously available North American guides, and , if anything can, this book should help to stimulate a lichenological renaissance in North America."—Theodore L. Esslinger, Mycotaxon

"Mother-of-all lichen books. . . . it deserves use as a botanical and taxonomic resource on lichens. . . . 924 numbered plus 15 unnumbered color photos by nature photographers Sharnoffs that are stunning and exquisite. . . . [an] incredible project and touchstone book."—Taxon

"[I]ncludes detailed entries on [over] 800 . . . lichens; essays on [their] biology, structure, uses, and ecological significance . . . hundreds of color photographs."—Natural History

"This tome includes detailed entries on more than 800 foliose, fruticose, and crustose lichens; essays on the biology, structure, uses, and ecological significance of these plants; and hundreds of color photographs."—Natural History

Winner of the New England Book Show, in the category of Reference books, sponsored by the Bookbuilders of Boston

Winner of the 2002 Henry Allan Gleason Award given by The New York Botanical Garden

Winner of the 2002 Council on Botanical & Horticultural Libraries Award

Winner of the 2002 National Outdoor Book Award for Nature Guidebooks

Winner of the 2001 R. R. Hawkins Award for the Outstanding Professional Reference or Scholarly Work given by the Association of American Publishers

"Lichens of North America isone of the great natural history books of this or any age—a work in which art and science are perfectly united in tribute to one of the most beautiful, important, and least described parts of nature."—David Ehrenfeld, Rutgers University

"This is a book to love. It will open a whole new world for naturalists, professional and amateur, to explore and enjoy."—E. O. Wilson

"A long-sought triumph, gorgeously illustrated, accurate, accessible, and comprehensive."—Lynn Margulis, University of Massachusetts

"A superb and indispensable book for anyone truly interested in the biodiversity of North America."—Peter Crane, director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

"This volume is the twenty-first-century lichen equivalent of Audubon’s Birds of America."—Thomas E. Lovejoy, Smithsonian Institution