Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a fungus and its photosynthetic partner, usually green algae or cyanobacteria. The algae provides photosynthetic nutrients, while the fungus protects the algae by retaining water and serving as a larger capture area for nutrients. Connifer twigs provide prime habitat for many lichens. The dark-olive to black Cetraria merrilli is fruticose with finely dissected lobes. The deep yellow Vulpicida canadensis is foliose with brown apothecia. Usnea range from pale green to yellow. The yellow green Alectoria vancouverensis can grow to 40 cm long.

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