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Lobaria pulmonaria 010108c.jpg
Lobaria pulmonaria
Scientific classification


many, including:
Lobaria amplissima
Lobaria hallii
Lobaria linita
Lobaria oregana
Lobaria pallida
Lobaria pulmonaria
Lobaria quercizans
Lobaria ravenelii
Lobaria retigera
Lobaria scrobiculata
Lobaria virens

Lobaria is a genus of lichens commonly known as "lung wort" or "lungmoss" as their physical shape somewhat resembles a lung, and their ecological niche is similar to that of moss. Lobaria are unusual in that they have a three-part symbiosis, containing a fungus, and an alga (as other lichens do), but also a cyanobacterium which fixes nitrogen.

Lichen have no roots, no leaves, no flowers. The fungus provides the basic structure, known as the thallus, and is adept at drawing minerals from the surrounding environment, as well as trapping water. The alga are individuals lodged in the fungus, and produce sugar from photosynthesis, using the water which it could not retain itself.

Navajo herbalists have described this mutually symbiotic relationship as "a marriage", and moss biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer describes this "marriage" as "Lichens are a couple in which the whole is more than the sum of the parts". [1]

Their sensitivity to toxins makes them an excellent indicator of ecosystem health. They are often found in ecological climax communities, such as the few remaining remnants of old growth forest in northwestern North America and Eurasia.

Under the doctrine of signatures, Lobaria pulmonaria is sometimes used to treat respiratory infections, although there is no peer-reviewed data to support the efficacy of this treatment.

Lobaria pulmonaria has been found to have moderate anti-inflammatory effects, and strong anti-ulcerative effects in rats. [2]


  • Miadlikowska, Jolanta; et al. (2006). "New insights into classification and evolution of the Lecanoromycetes (Pezizomycotina, Ascomycota) from phylogenetic analyses of three ribosomal RNA- and two protein-coding genes" (PDF). Mycologia. 98 (6): 1088–1103. doi:10.3852/mycologia.98.6.1088. PMID 17486983.
  1. ^ Wall Kimmerer, Robin. Braiding Sweetgrass. p. 269.
  2. ^ "Anti-inflammatory and antiulcerogenic effects of the aqueous extract of Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm". Phytomedicine. 10: 552–557. 2003. doi:10.1078/094471103322331539. PMID 13678242.

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