Lichens of Wales

Fulgensia fulgens

Common Name(s)

Often known as the "scrambled egg lichen"

Description & Identification

Easily identified by the non-specialist,  Fulgensia fulgens is a squamulose lichen made up of overlapping, lemon-yellow scales, with a lobed margin, and are slightly pruinose. When well developed the thallus is distinctly placodioid. The centre of the thallus is often paler and either has scattered, rounded, dark orange fruits up to 1.5 mm in diameter, and narrow lobe-like vegetative propagules called schizidia, which break off exposing the white medulla. The thallus has a purple reaction (K+ p) when potassium hydroxide is applied due to the presence of the lichen substance Physcion.

 Bryan Edwards

Text & Photo from Bryan Edwards


Fulgensia fulgens is a terricolous lichen favouring highly calcareous substrata that in Britain include chalk, limestone and blown shell-sand. Most often it grows directly on the widespread acrocarpous moss Trichostomum crispulum, though it may grow directly on soil or on rock. It is part of suite of specialist lichens requiring very open habitats with pockets of bare soil and often low rock outcrops, and little competition from vascular plants. Fulgensia is now restricted to coastal sites, as it has become extinct in the Norfolk and Suffolk Brecklands in 1984 (Edwards, 2007).


This species has always been rare in Britain and is currently known from six sites in England, and those at Castlemartin and Stackpole in south-west Wales. F. fulgens is found in seven populations within the Castlemartin Cliffs and Dunes SSSI, four at Brownslade Burrows, one at Linney Burrows all on blown sand over limestone. The two remaining populations are rather atypical growing on thin soil right on the cliff edge at Pen-y-holt Down and Flimston Down.

Records from Wales
Location Grid Reference Last Recorded Recorder SSSI
Pembroke: Brownslade Burrows, Castlemartin SR 8890 9862 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Brownslade Burrows, Castlemartin SR 8904 9860 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Brownslade Burrows, Castlemartin SR 8937 9781 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Brownslade Burrows, Castlemartin SR 8963 9782 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Linney Burrows, Castlemartin SR 896 972 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Pen-y-Holt Down, Castlemartin SR 9018 9537 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Flimston Bay, Castlemartin SR 9206 9437 2005 BLS yes
Pembroke: Stackpole SSSI SR 97 94 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Stackpole SSSI SR 97 95  1978 P.W. James Yes
Pembroke: Stackpole SSSI SR 98 94 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Pembroke: Stackpole SSSI SR 98 95 2007 B. Edwards Yes
Notes on individual locations

Stackpole SSSI - detailed locations and grid references are given in Bryan Edwards Stackpole report 2008 (see References below).

Proposed Actions
  UKBAP Signposting Actions:
1. Monitor the extant sites every 6 years to ensure the mossy open calcareous grassland habitat required by this species is being maintained.
2. The habitat is susceptable to enrichment, and therefore would benefit from a reduction of agricultural and atmospheric pollutants through the implimentation of agri-environment schemes
3. Where this species is declining trial habitat restoration by turf stripping and moniroting re-colonisation.
Hectad Distribution in Wales/Link to NBN Gateway Map
NBN Taxon Key