Nitella and Chara Algae (or Branched Algae) belong to the stonewort family. Species vary in height from a few inches to over 90 cm, and grow in shallow to deep water attached to the substrate. These bright green algae have a growth habit similar to an aquatic plant, with a slender upright stalk and whorls of linear structures that superficially resemble thin leaves or branches. These algae form stands or lawns in water bodies.