Cladina subtenuis establishes and expands by mechanisms of the thallus mycobiont. Vegetative reproduction occurs through thallus fragmentation, branch ‘ de-differentiation ’, and the extension of the underground prothallus. Establishment hyphae can be considered as any hyphae that provide the mechanism for these modes of clonal thallus extension. They may originate in various parts of the thallus, laterally on branch surfaces, at the growing tips of branches, or from the inner fungal layers of the podetium. The thallus of C. subtenuis is structurally and functionally plastic. Parts of the photosynthetic lichen thallus can transform into nonphotosynthetic fungal aggregations, and non-photosynthetic aggregations may re-establish as a photosynthetic lichen thallus. These activities expand the area occupied by the clone, and potentially increase its photosynthetic surface.