spotted cat's picture


What about a glossary of technical terms?

For instance there's some wonderful language used in the field of lichens (eg which is very opaque to the uninitiated.

Of course, you might say that this information is available elsewhere - I could google the words I don't know, I'm sure - but maybe there are knowledgeable people amongst the iSpot community who would enjoy the challenge of creating an iSpot lexicon.



Refugee's picture


It would be a whole lot quicker than browsing word by word like i do with google sometimes. The other case is when we get an interesting organism and there is just a latin name or the common name brings up too much dross.
A latin name is a good dross filter for google...


gardener's picture

Link below to a glossary of

Link below to a glossary of terms used for lichen identification:

spotted cat's picture


Thanks, Jenny, that's very useful.

Aren't they beautiful words?

synan's picture

Lichen language

I see you've cited an example of me using lichen-waffle. I remember how impenetrable it seemed when I first read this sort of stuff, but now I'm getting used to it - even adopting it - I too easily forget what a load of gobbledygook it is!

Referring to all the lichen jargon in scientific papers, the late lichenologist Oliver Gilbert once said that the subject "is running away from us".

I think there is a happy balance to be found between terms that condense esoteric meanings into 1-2 words and those that are just pretentious. Please demand sense if I overdo the lichen verbiage!

Anyway, Jenny's glossary of lichen terminology solves the problem. The whole site is a superb Ireland/UK resource.


spotted cat's picture

It's not waffle!

I wasn't complaining about the language, far from it - I think it's beautiful and poetic, and of course it is useful when you understand it! When you don't, you can either look it up or just enjoy the music of it.

I don't want to stop you or anyone else using scientific terms. If you had to describe each part and it's appearance etc in layman's terms, you'd end up writing pages each time.

I suppose I have to admit to laziness - I was just thinking it would be great to be able to click on a word I didn't understand to get a brief explanation. But I can imagine that would involve a huge amount of work.

By the way, it's not just about lichen-speak, there are technical terms in every field. I just picked that example as a particularly juicy one!