THE LICHENS OF NORTHERN ITALY - An interactive guide

Pier Luigi Nimis
Northern Italy, comprising the administrative regions of Piemonte, Valle d' Aosta, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria and the so-called 'Triveneto' (Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia), includes the Alps, the great plains of the North, the Karst Region near Trieste, and a part of the Tyrrhenian coast in Liguria.
Northern Italy has been intensively studied since the 'Golden Period' of Italian lichenology by scholars such as e.g. M. Anzi, F. Arnold, F. Baglietto, G. De Notaris, S. Garovaglio, A. Massalongo, and V. Trevisan, and by many other lichenologists in recent times. As a consequence, it is the lichenologically best-explored part of Italy: more than 2300 infrageneric taxa have been reported from Northern Italy.
This key, including 2818 infrageneric taxa (among which several species which were never reported from the survey area, but are likely to occur there), was produced with the latest version of software FRIDA, developed at the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Trieste, and is a further step toward the completion of a lichen flora of Italy. Although not yet fully tested and corrected, the key is published online in order to render its testing possible by the lichenological community. Any suggestion for its improvement is welcome: messages should be sent by email to P.L. Nimis -

How to use the key

Two query interfaces are available:
1) Dichotomous: this is a classical dichotomous key. The path to identification may be long, as the total number of species is high. At any step, you can obtain a textual key (incl. pictures) of the remaining species.
2) Multi-entry: This query interface allows you to specify a set of characters which fit those of your specimen: the result will be a dichotomous key including only the species which share these characters. If you already know the genus, you can also obtain a dichotomous key of all species of that genus (or you can combine the genus name with some other character: e.g. a key to all epiphytic species of Rinodina reacting K+ yellow).
1) Never use two different keys at the same time with the same browser: before using the second key, close the browser and start a new session.
2) If you want to start again the multi-entry interface, select ‘Key home page’ and re-launch the key.
3) When you use the multi-entry interface, select only characters which you are sure of. If you are in doubt, better leave the field empty.

Last modified: November, 19, 2023