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Exploring Different Forms of Lichen Cheat Sheet by

Exploring Different Forms of Lichen: Crustose, Foliose and Fruticose


To explore three major forms of lichens: Crustose, Foliose, and Fruticose.


Lichens are fascin­ating organisms composed of a symbiotic relati­onship between fungi and photos­ynt­hetic partners (algae or cyanob­act­eria). ​In this lab, we'll explore three major forms of lichens: Crustose, Foliose, and Fruticose.


Various specimens of lichens (Crustose, Foliose, and Frutic­ose)​
Hand lenses or magnifying glasses​
Lab notebook​
Pencils, pens, markers​
Camera (optional, for docume­nta­tion)​


1. Crustose Lichens
1. Examine the crustose lichen specimen closely.​
2. Descri­ption: Write a brief descri­ption of the crustose lichen's physical appear­ance.​
2. Foliose Lichens​
1. Observe the foliose lichen specimen with a hand lens.​
2.Desc­rip­tion: Describe the foliose lichen's charac­ter­istics, including color, texture, and overall shape.​
3. Fruticose Lichens
1. Examine the fruticose lichen specimen closely.​
2. Descri­ption: Write a descri­ption of the fruticose lichen's growth pattern and any visible struct­ures.​
4. Record Observ­ations
Create detailed notes on: Location Substrate (where the lichen is growing) Physical charac­ter­istics (color, texture, size, shape) Any unique features or patterns observed. Draw well-l­abeled diagrams of crustose, fruticose, and foliose lichens.

Observ­ation Table

Crustose Lichen
Foliose Lichen
Fruticose Lichen
Tightly adherent to substrate
Loosely attached to substrate
Not tightly attached, often bushy
Growth Form
Flat and crust-like
Leaf-like structure
Three-­dim­ens­ional, shrubby or branching​
Upper Surface
Often indistinct or like lower surface
Well-d­efined upper surface
Distinct upper surface
Lower Surface
Directly attached to substrate
Usually lighter in color, may have rhizines
May have holdfast structures
Typically pale to dark colors
A range of colors, often vibrant
A variety of colors
Granular or powdery​
Variable, may be smooth or textured​
Bushy, tufted, or wiry
Ecological Niche
Can colonize exposed rock surfaces​
Common on tree bark or wood​
Found in a variety of habitats, including open areas
Often found in open or exposed habitats
Can inhabit tree trunks, rocks, or soil​
Often on trees, rocks, or other surfaces​
Crustose coralline lichen, Rhizoc­arpon spp.
Usnea spp., Parmelia spp.​
Cladonia spp., Cladina spp.


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