Ohio has had a list of rare and endangered plants, protected by law, since the Ohio Rare Plant Law was enacted in 1978 (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1518). This list contains all plants determined to be extirpated, endangered, threatened, or potentially threatened, according to criteria set forth in the Ohio law. The list is reviewed every two years (even numbered years) by the Ohio Rare Plants Advisory Committee, and species may be deleted, added, or change in status.

In addition to vascular plants, lichens and mosses have also been included on the list. Since these groups are lesser studied than the vascular plants, the Committee has adopted different criteria for their inclusion. These criteria follow:

  • Lichens and mosses that are known from one or two extant populations in the state with records no more than 20 years old may be proposed for endangered listing. No listings for threatened or extirpated will be proposed, although a lichen or moss already listed as endangered may become threatened if new populations are found, or extirpated if records become older than 20 years.
  • Be very parsimonious. When in doubt, wait for more information. Once listed, species are hard to remove.
  • List only lichens and mosses that have limited US range (near endemics), or are uncommon throughout their range.
  • Preference will be given to lichens and mosses that grow in uncommon habitats (therefore there is some vulnerability to the population or the habitat).
  • Favor larger, easy to recognize species. It is much easier to define populations for protection or avoidance. It is also easier for non-specialists to identify and update records later.
  • List only lichens and mosses that are found growing on natural substrates.
  • Ephemeral mosses, which are often limited to early successional habitats that disappear within a short time, will not be listed.
  • There are presently 17 lichens, and 16 mosses listed (see below). Many more could be added but with so few people who search for these cryptogams, we have thought to keep the list to a minimum.


Lichens. X=Extirpated, E=Endangered, T=Threatened, A=Recently listed and awaiting more data 

Blennothallia crispa, Crinkled Jelly Lichen – – X

Cetraria arenaria, Sand-loving Iceland Lichen – – E

Canoparmelia caroliniana, Carolina Shield Lichen –  – E

Dibaeis absoluta, Pink Dot Lichen – – T

Enchylium bachmanianum, Bachman’s Jelly Lichen – – T

Enchylium coccophorum, Tar Jelly Lichen – – E

Enchylium conglomeratum, Dotted Jelly Lichen – E

Lathagrium fuscovirens, Dusky Jelly Lichen – – E

Phaeophyscia leana, Lea’s Shadow Lichen – – E

Placidium squamulosum, Brown Stipplescale – – E

Punctelia perreticulata, Reticulate Speckled Shield Lichen – – E

Ramalina farinacea, Dotted Ramalina – – E

Ramalina intermedia, Rock Ramalina – – E

Ramalina pollinaria, Chalky Ramalina – – T

Rusavskia elegans, Elegant Sunburst Lichen – – E

Sticta beauvoisii, Fringed Moon Lichen – – X

Thyrea confusa, Jelly Strap Lichen – – A

Bryophytes X=Extirpated, E=Endangered, T=Threatened

Amphidium mougeotii, Mougeot’s Ice Moss – – E

Andreaea rupestris, Black Rock Moss – – X

Anomobryum filiforme, Common Silver Moss – – E

Anomodon viticulosus, Long Tail Moss – – E

Barbula indica, Twisted Teeth Moss – – E

Buxbaumia aphylla, Bug-on-a-stick – – T

Buxbaumia minakatae, Ethereal Elf Cap Moss – X

Campylostelium saxicola, Rock-loving Swan-necked Moss – – T

Cyrtomnium hymenophylloides, Curvey-capsuled Thin-leaved Moss – – E

Dichelyma capillaceum, Awned Dichelyma Moss – E

Diphyscium mucronifolium, Cumberland Grain O’ Wheat Moss – – E

Fissidens hyalinus, Filmy Fissidens – – E

Forsstroemia producta, Sullivant’s Bark Moss – – E

Hylocomium splendens, Mountain-fern Moss – – X

Hypnum pratense, Wrinkled-leaved Marsh Hypnum – –E

Loeskeobryum brevirostre, Squarrose-tipped Wood Moss – – E

If you find one of these listed species, please carefully note the exact location (GPS if possible) and size of the population (number of individuals or size of colony). If you are unsure of the identification collect a small voucher specimen for determination by an expert. This information should then be turned in to the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to update their records.

– Ray Showman
(originally published 2020 in OBELISK vol. 17)