New Zealand lichens were first collected by botanists on Captain Cook's visits. The Forsters gathered specimens on Cook's second voyage in 1772, and Menzies collected lichens during Cook's third visit.
The first collection of any size was made by Dumont d'Urville and others during the voyage of the Astrolabe, 1826–29, and 26 specimens were described by A. Richard in his Essai d'une Flora de Nouvelle-Zélande, published in 1832. Drs Lyall and Hooker added greatly to the knowledge of New Zealand lichens with specimens collected during the voyage of the Erebus and Terror in 1840–41. Thirty-one species from the Auckland and Campbell Islands were named by Thomas Taylor and J. D. Hooker in Hooker's Botany of an Antarctic Voyage, of 1844.
The next major contribution was made by W. Colenso, whose specimens were described by the Rev. Churchill Babington, in Hooker's Flora Novae-Zelandiae of 1855. Dr W. Lauder Lindsay collected lichens in Otago in 1861 and in a paper read in 1886 mentioned about 100 species. By 1867 just over 200 species appeared in Hooker's Handbook of the New Zealand Flora.
Zahlbruckner's Lichenes Novae Zelandiae, published in 1941, is the most important publication of this century. Using the collections of H. H. Allan, L. M. Cranwell, L. B. Moore, J. Scott Thomson, J. E. Holloway, and K. W. Alison, Zahlbruckner described about 600 species. Papers by William Martin and J. Murray appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1958 and 1960.
Much remains to be done both in collecting and in identifying New Zealand lichens. Microscopic examination is usually necessary for the identification of species. As few type specimens are available in New Zealand, reference must be made to the collections at Kew, the British Museum of Natural History, and the Natural History Museum of Paris. Jeanne Hannington Goulding, Botanist's Assistant, Auckland Museum and William Martin, B.SC., Lichologist and School Teacher (retired), Dunedin.
by Jeanne Hannington Goulding, Botanist's Assistant, Auckland Museum, and William Martin, B.SC., Lichenologist and School Teacher (retired), Dunedin.
- Handbook of New Zealand Flora, Hooker, J. D. (1867)
- The Flora of New Zealand, Martin W. (1961)
- Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol. 85 (1958), Cladonia of New Zealand, Martin, W.
- Tuatara, Vol. 1 (1940), A Note on Lichens with a Key to the commoner New Zealand Genera, Allan, H. H.
- Ibid., Vol. 2 (1949), A Note on the Crustaceous Lichens of New Zealand, Allan, H. H.
- Ibid., Vol. 2 (1949), Key to the Stictaceae of New Zealand, Allan, H. H.
- New Zealand Lichens, Murray, J. (published by Biological Society of Victoria University of Wellington), (1964).