Lichen is not a plant.

Lichen isn't a plant, it is both a fungi and algae.

Lichens Are Composite Organisms

A lichen isn’t. a plant, it is a dual organism that is both a fungus and algae. The term symbiosis was even coined to describe this phenomenon.[1][2]

FACT: The term symbiosis was first used in 1877 by German botanist Albert Bernhard Frank used to describe the “symbiotic” relationship in lichens.

Why Are Lichens Composite Organisms?

The fungi and algae that come together to make lichen have a good reason for teaming up. Each organism has special traits that benefit the other.

Fungi can’t utilize photosynthesis, while algae can. Meanwhile, the fungi’s structure provides protection and helps to gather moisture.

To learn more about the wonderful world of Lichens, check out the video below.

Is Lichen a Plant? Interestingly, despite the way it looks, a lichen is not a plant. It does get its nutrients from photosynthesis like a plan, but it does not have roots and is not in the plant family.

What’s in a Lichen? How Scientists Got It Wrong for 150 Years | Short Film Showcase.

FACT: While composite organisms are somewhat rare in nature, lichen itself isn’t. It is estimated that 6–8% of Earth’s land surface is covered by lichens.



Lichen is a dual organism that is both a fungi and algae. It is not a plant as it might appear at first glance.


  1. Lichens.
  2. Symbiosis.

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