History

The diversity of lichens of Armenia isn’t studied well and lichenology doesn’t have a long history in Armenia yet. The first data about lichens of Armenia date back to the beginning of the 19th century. But this data are distributed in various literary sources and doesn’t represent a united material. Besides they also include information about lichens of Western Armenia and Nakhichevan.

There is information about two species of lichens in the work “Voyage aux Indes Orientales…” by naturalist François-Xavier Bélanger. He collected these species in Caucasian mountains while travelling to India. Another scientific work which includes information about nine species of lichens growing in Armenia belongs to botanist Friedrich Alexander Buhse. He collected these species while crossing Armenia on his way to Iran. One of the first works about lichens by J. Steiner includes information about 14 species collected near Yerevan and ruins of Ani.

Later an article was published by B.G. Pachunova who examined a big collection of lichens from Armenia and gave information about several species in her article.

A.M. Oksner published an article in 1948 headlined “New and rare lichens of USSR” where lichens growing in Armenia were also included.

Having examined the area of Aragats mountain, I. Visokostrovskaya and G. Denisova published an article in which eight species were described.

Only in V.G. Nikoghosyan’s time purposeful studies on lichens of Armenia began and a number of articles were published which included information about 96 species and their ecology. But unfortunately the most part of Nikoghosyan’s collection didn’t remain.

Sh. O. Barkhalov made a valuable contribution to the studies of lichens of Armenia examining the herbariums of different botanical institutions in a number of cities and publishing several works which provided information about more than 100 species of lichens of Armenia.

Information about lichens of Armenia is also present in the multivolumed “Identification Guide to Lichens of the USSR”.

In 1980s A. Abrahamyan made a big contribution to the studies of the lichen diversity of Armenia. Examining mainly the lichens widely distributed around Sevan basin she mentioned about more than190 species of lichens in her works.

Helmut Mayerhofer and Shahane Haroutiounian also made a big contribution to the studies of lichens of our country. Due to their activities the lichen diversity of Armenia was enriched with more than 200 species. There is a catalogue of Armenian lichens in the article published in 2011 (Harutyunyan, S., Wiesmair, B. & Mayrhofer, H. 2011. Catalogue of the lichenized fungi in Armenia. Herzogia 24: 265 –296) according to which there are 414 species, 1 subspecies and 7 variations of lichens in Armenia.

At the present time Arsen Gasparyan carries on the studies on Armenian lichens together with Dr. Harrie Sipman who is the Curator of the lichens at the Herbarium of the Berlin Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, Berlin. During recent years, 40 new lichen species and 2lichenicolous fungi have been recorded for Armenia (Gasparyan & Sipman 2013; 2014).

Collections of lichens collected from the area of Armenia are mainly conserved in the herbariums of Institute of Botany NAS RA and the Department of Botany of the Yerevan State University. The main part of the collection is composed of species collected by M. Meliksetyan and L.A. Gevorgyan, D.N. Babayan as well.