Description: Thallus crustose, episubstratic, yellow to orange-yellow, of scattered to most often crowded, 0.1-0.35 mm wide granules. Cortex pseudoparenchymatous, of gelatinised hyphae with more or less isodiametric cells. Apothecia lecanorine, 0.3-0.6(-1) mm across, with a flat to slightly convex, dark yellow disc, and a a persistent to finally excluded, thin, uneven thalline margin; proper margin indistinct or forming an evident parathecial ring. Proper exciple to 75 μm wide in uppermost part, of radiating, more or less isodiametric, thin-walled cells, basally not forming a compact stipe; epithecium yellow-brown, hymenium colourless, 55-65 μm high, I+ blue; paraphyses simple or sparingly branched in upper part, 1.5-2 μm thick at mid-level, the apical cells to 6 μm wide; hypothecium colourless, with oil droplets. Asci 8–spored, clavate, with an apical dome which is I+ blue only in the internal, lower part, interrupted in the centre by a a paler blue strip, Candelaria-type. Ascopores 1-celled (rarely indistinctly 1-septate), hyaline, mostly narrowly ellipsoid, sometimes narrowing at one end, (10.5-)13-19(-24) x 4.5-6.5 μm. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Spot tests: thallus K- or K+ faintly orange, C-, KC-, P-. Chemistry: calycin, pulvic acid lactone, vulpinic and rhizocarpic acids.
Note: a species described from a high elevation locality in Western North America, growing on plant debris and cushions of bryophytes; so far there are only a few records from the Alps, but perhaps the species was not distinguished from C. aurella in the past; to be looked for in the Italian Alps.
Growth form: Crustose
Substrata: soil, terricolous mosses, and plant debris