Distribution: N - Ven, TAA, Lomb, Piem (Isocrono & al. 2004), VA (Borlandelli & al. 1996, Piervittori & Isocrono 1997, 1999, Piervittori & al. 2004). C - Sar (Zedda 2002). S - Bas (Potenza & al. 2014).
Description: Thallus fruticose, filamentous, prostrate to decumbent, olive-brown in shade forms to mostly dark brown to black, sometimes paler towards the base, smooth, dull to mostly shiny. Branches isotomic-dichotomously ramified at the base, becoming anisotomic towards apices, to 15(-20) cm long, terete or compressed, of uneven thickness and often strongly twarted, with the main branches much thicker than the others (0.5-1.5, exceptionally to 2 mm thick), without lateral spinules and pseudocyphellae. Soredia rarely present, farinose, whitish, arranged into small tuberculate, soralia. Apothecia and pycnidia unknown. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Spot tests: cortex and medulla K-, C-, KC-, P-; soralia P+ red. Chemistry: fumarprotocetraric acid in the soralia.
Note: an arctic-alpine to boreal-montane, circumpolar lichen found on wind-exposed rocks, but also on soil, mosses and plant remains in exposed habitats with frequent fog, with optimum near and above treeline. The study of Boluda et al. (2019) revealed a strong mismatch between phenotypes and genotypes in Bryoria sect. Implexae, which brought to the reduction from 11 to 4 species. All European species (B. capillaris, B. chalybeiformis, B. implexa, B. lanestris, B. kuemmerleana, and B. subcana) should be considered as synonyms of B. fuscescens. Due to their chemical and morphological differences, I still provisionally maintain these taxa as separate species, although they should be best treated as chemical races or forms of B fuscescens.
Growth form: Fruticose filamentous
Photobiont: green algae other than Trentepohlia
Reproductive strategy: mainly asexual, by soredia, or soredia-like structures (e.g. blastidia)