China's flora tour: Extraordinary life form in nature
By Xing Fangyu

Once classified as single organisms, lichens are extraordinary life forms that are composites of fungus and algae or cyanobacteria.

Lichens have many colors and forms, but their plant-like entities are not plants.

They can be found in many environmental conditions, from sea level to high alpine mountains. A study by Gadd estimated that 6 percent of Earth's land surface is covered by lichens.

Because they are abundant and can grow on almost any surface, lichens are a year-round food source for snub-nosed monkeys.

(Video filmed by Yang Yang, edited by Xing Fangyu.)