Bernard F.M. Abbott:

Checklist of the Lichens and Lichenicolous Fungi of Greece

2009. 368 pages, 14x23cm, 700 g
Language: English

(Bibliotheca Lichenologica, Band 103)

ISBN 978-3-443-58082-7, paperback, price: 94.00 €

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lichenlichenicolous fungigreeceaegean


Synopsis top ↑

This book brings together the results from over 2000 years of investigations into Greek lichens by workers from many countries. Greece has a rich lichen flora but it is not well known, in large part because previous publications are scattered through a wide, and often obscure, literature. This comprehensive and detailed checklist puts the study of Greek lichens onto a firm foundation, and will be indispensible for any botanist with an interest in Greece. Lichenologists throughout the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean region will also find it of value.

Review: International Lichenological Newsletter 42 (2) top ↑

A checklist for Greece fills a real gap and is therefore a most useful addition to every honest lichen library. But there are many other reasons why this one is especially welcome. It is the first one ever published despite the fact that the oldest information on Greek lichens is available from the classical authors (esp. Theophrastus) more than 2000 years ago. To date there has never been a Greek school of lichenology, most work being undertaken by foreign travellers, leading to widely scattered literature published in many different languages over the last 300 years. Although the present author is also a foreigner to Greece, he has lived there for several years and knows the country and its language. As no overview of the Greek lichen flora and Greek lichenology existed, he took it upon himself to prepare an alphabetical checklist supported by literature sources for every accepted species. As a result, there are now 1296 accepted taxa, with a further 169 presently not accepted for various reasons (always explained). This is a sound base for further work. The author includes his own records from the Peloponnese. Information on the occurrence of every species is listed acccording to subdivisions of main geographical regions and the various islands. It is clear that there are still islands in need of lichenological exploration.

In his introduction the author presents a detailed history of Greek lichenology, including personal valuations of many papers. Here one can spot some minor mistakes or omissions, e.g. p. 11 “the Austrian botanist Ferdinand Arnold” was in fact German or p. 17 a small section on “A Dr. C. Regel” who was the well known botanist Constantin von Regel (1890-1970). The main checklist is followed by 40 pages of synonyms and another 40 pages of Greek place names. The latter is a most valuable addition because it provides much information for geographical names published in the papers scanned for this list which are very difficult to find or to locate without an intimate knowledge of Greece and Greek history because many names have changed or have been used in various spellings etc. Then follows a detailed list of 58 recording sites by the author, which allows him to list his own records as one literature reference. Finally a list of references is given which is followed by a short list of further possible references which the author was not able to see, among which are some difficult to obtain schedae of exsiccati and some papers by Greek authors published in Greece. As regards the completeness of the evaluated literature, I found to my surprise that about 10 papers which appear by searching Recent Literature on Lichens by the keyword Greece are not included, among them Calatayud, V., Navarro- Rosinés, P. & J. Hafellner (2002): A synopsis of Lichenostigma subgen. Lichenogramma (Arthoniales), with a key to the species. - Mycological Research 106(10): 1230-1242, which adds Lichenostigma rouxii Nav.-Ros., Calatayud & Hafellner to the present checklist.

Despite these reservations, nobody else would have been able at this time to bring together so much valuable information for those prepared to study the lichen flora of such a large but still under-recorded area.

The Editor

International Lichenological Newsletter 42 (2)

Review: Inoculum 61(3), June 2010 top ↑

Although the first records of lichens from Greece extend back to Theophrastus and Dioscorides in classical times, Greece is unusual in Europe in not having ever had a comprehensive checklist compiled or even many detailed regional studies of lichenized fungi. This is a consequence of the lack of a resident lichen systematist employed in any institution in the country. Now, Bernard Abbott, a British ex-patriot who has lived in Arkadias, Greece, for many years, has compiled a comprehensive survey of previous reports from the dispersed literature and supplemented this by the results of 10 years of his own extensive but otherwise unpublished studies in the Peloponnese. The result is a checklist in which 1296 species are accepted, and omits a further 169 as erroneous or otherwise doubtful. But this is much more than the usual naked checklist, as each species entry has information on synonyms used, references to published reports, and localities where they are found. The detailed report given for even the commonest species is unusual, thus accounts for single species may extend for more than a page. Such a level of information is hardly found outside computerized databases today. The taxonomy is generally up-to-date, although I regret that the system in use for parmelioid lichens is not fully adopted as “there have been too many changes to genera in the Parmeliaceae in the last 40 years, many of them illadvised”. I could not agree more with that statement, but the difference with the latest changes is that they have a molecular basis and can be expected to “stand the test of time” he desires. The reports are arranged by province or island names for Crete and Evia, with Crete and the Peloponnese having the most species at 649 and 591. Least studied is Thrace with a mere 32 records. It is clear that there is much still to be done, not the least for lichenicolous fungi of which there are few reports. Bernard estimates that the total “can be expected to exceed 1500 taxa” – a figure which I suspect will eventually be proved to be too low.

The core of the work is preceded by a detailed historical account of lichenological studies in the country and followed by a cross-indexed list of synonyms, notes on Greek place names including results from detective work on those mentioned in earlier literature, a list of his own collecting localities, 18 pages of references cited, and, unusually, two pages of works not seen.

This meticulously, and clearly lovingly, prepared work can be expected to promote interest in Greek lichens – especially if it could also be made available online through LIAS (A Global Information System for Lichenized and Non-Lichenized Ascomycetes; to complement the national lists already available through that site. It now needs to be supplemented by a substantial handbook with photographs to further stimulate Greek nationals, and others settling there, in the nation’s lichens. And, of course, all lichenologists taking a holiday in the Aegean will need to have this book at hand to see what additions they can make – and let Bernard know (

David L Hawksworth Departamento de Biología Vegetal II, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, London

Inoculum 61(3), June 2010

Review: Bibliography of Systematic Mycology, 12(9), April 2010 top ↑

The preparation of a checklist is a major undertaking, especially for a region where none exists previously. The author has clearly entered into this work with an unshakeable sense of purpose, and the end result constitutes a major step forward in the study of Greek lichens. A particular challenge has been accessing the highly scattered literature on the subject, with most source information being published outside of the country. As the author comments acerbically, ‘Lichenology in Greece has a long, though discontinuous and rather undistinguished history’.

Around 1300 taxa are accepted which, bearing in mind the geographical and ecological diversity of the country, suggests that the total is significantly larger than the known number of species. Many of the Greek islands remain totally unexplored for lichens, hopefully giving purpose to many a vacation for those with interests in the subject. The work also contains a detailed account of the history of lichen exploration in Greece, a synonym list, a most useful guide to Greek place names, and a reference list (irritatingly separated into papers seen by the author and those not consulted). The species notes are comprehensive in terms of information source, with records separated into the mainland provinces and island groups. They could perhaps have been arranged in a manner that is easier to read, but this is after all a technical resource and not a descriptive volume.

I have not studied the volume in detail in an attempt to discover inaccuracies and inconsistencies, but the overall impression is that of a highly organized and well proof-read document. It will be the main reference work for Greek lichens for the foreseeable future, and will hopefully stimulate much more research. Can we look forward to a Greek lichen biota? Bella, Binty, Chica, Oscar, Priscilla and Spotty will be proud of their human companion ...

Paul Cannon

Bibliography of Systematic mycology, 12(9), April 2010

Review: Acta Botanica Hungarica 53 (3-4) top ↑

The back cover mentions“…results from over 2,000 years of investigations into Greek lichens …”. This is a very promising advertisement of the volume! The reader may expect an entire treatment of all studies ever carried out in lichenology in Greece. And indeed, there is a detailed chapter of 21 pages on “History of lichenology in Greece” which covers first of all the development of floristical knowledge on lichens. Publications by recent Greek authors are mainly on the applied fields (bioindication, monitoring of heavy metal, sulphur dioxide, dust or radioactive pollution) following 1990s. It is also worth mentioning lichen chemistry, first of all the studies on carotenoids based on Greek lichens and the colouring effects of lichen substances on artificially coloured monuments. Of course the first step is to know the organisms what is available in Greece for lichenological studies. The author concentrated on the taxa of lichenised and lichenicolous fungi ever mentioned in literature from Greece. In this way he intended to compile the possibly most precise recent inventory of taxa. As a result 1296 species (and infraspecific taxa) are accepted by him listing another 169 taxa awaiting for confirmation. Under the names mentioned there are very useful annotations concerning mostly to geographical distribution, taxonomy or nomenclature. The author carried out his own field studies at 58 sites visited in the province Peloponnese. These represent the most recent data (from 1999 up to now) published in the volume.

A list of synonyms follows the list of species. A title to it – also included in the contents (pp. 264–304) – would have been practical to add. The chapter “List of Greek place names” consists of explanations on sites and useful notes on transliterating and spelling names of classical and modern Greek language. Literature sources seen (on 17 pages) and not seen (on 2 pages) by the author are separated into two lists expressing that some data might need revision in future, however the number of such publications is very low compared to the amount of literature studied altogether.

On the basis of the available literature and own field studies, the author estimates the lichen flora of Greece as exceeding the species number 1500, which seems to be a correct, or even a rather careful estimation. Several of the islands never have been investigated for their lichens, others are very unevenly collected, just as large areas are known from a few popular collection sites (e.g. Mt Olympus) only. There is a lot more to do in lichenology in Greece. The current checklist is obviously a great help for those who are going to discover the still unknown parts of this country for their lichens and lichenicolous fungi.


Acta Botanica Hungarica 53 (3-4), 2011, p. 441-442

Table of Contents top ↑

Summary 4
Introduction 4
Acknowledgements 5
History of Lichenology in Greece 7
The Checklist 28
Greek Place Names 305
B. Abbott's Peloponnesian Sites 347
References 349
Publications Not Seen 367