information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Parelle (Ochrolechia parella)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



A grey to buff-grey encrusting lichen with a white edge to the margin of the thallus. The thallus is thick and warted at the centre and large, growing up to 20 cm across. The thallus may show growth rings. The fruiting bodies sit on the thallus and have thick, swollen margins the same colour as the thallus. The discs of the fruiting bodies are flesh to pink in colour with a powdery surface.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from all coasts of Britain and Ireland. Gaps in its recorded distribution are probably due to lack of suitable substrata.

Global distribution



Very common on hard smooth siliceous rocks, walls and, more rarely, on trees in sunlit situations. Found at the top of the supralittoral, exposed to sea spray, and further inland.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Thallus encrusting and buff to grey in colour.
  • Thallus margin (prothallus) white.
  • Fruiting bodies with thick margins and pinkish and powdery discs.

Additional information

Up to the end of the last century, Ochrolechia parella was collected to produce the purple dye 'parelle' (Dobson, 2000).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. CABI Bioscience, 2000. Index Fungorum Database. [On-line], 2002-04-23

  2. Dobson, F.S., 1997. Lichens of Rocky Shores. [Foldout pamphlet]. Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council.

  3. Dobson, F.S., 2000. Lichens: an illustrated guide to the British and Irish species. Slough: The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd.

  4. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  5. Fletcher, A., 1980. Marine and maritime lichens of rocky shores: their ecology, physiology, and biological interactions. In The Shore Environment, vol. 2: Ecosystems (ed. J.H. Price, D.E.G. Irvine & W.F. Farnham), pp. 789-842. London: Academic Press. [Systematics Association Special Volume no. 17(b)].


This review can be cited as:

Tyler-Walters, H., 2004. Ochrolechia parella Parelle. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 22-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 01/09/2004