One of the fundamental building blocks of life science is classification: figuring out how living organisms are related to each other and organizing them into logical groupings.

PSchartFrom BigPictureScience, we have an overview of the current version, a chart of the FIVE Kingdoms into which organisms are grouped. The FUNGI, including lichens, are in yellow at the lower right; the true bryophytes are part of the PLANT Kingdom in green at the left.

The two largest groups of Fungi, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, include all lichens, or lichenized fungi. Their partners in the symbiosis may be green algae (in blue, at the base of the Plant Kingdom line) or cyanobacteria (in purple, at left on the Prokaryote chart). In other words, lichens are all over the map of life!

For a light look at the history of classification relative to the Plant Kingdom, visit our friends at the nature blog Foothills Fancies, who once took a nostalgic look at the current vs. earlier schemes of plant classification.

Reference: Big Picture Science, an education resource website by Priscilla Spears, PhD, offers these charts free (links above). They are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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