Description: Thallus fruticose-filamentous, brown to olive-black, pendulous, to 30 cm long, isotomic dichotomously branched towards the base, but becoming anisotomic dichotomous towards the apices, the angles between dichotomies mainly obtuse. Main branches much larger than the secondary ones, usually twisted and foveolate to channeled, sometimes flattened at the base, (0.3-)0.5-1.0(-2.0) mm diam, without spinules and pseudocyphellae. Soralia absent to sparse, usually tuberculate. Apothecia usually absent. Spot tests: cortex and medulla K-, C-, KC-, P- (rarely P+ red), UV-; soralia P+ red. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Chemistry: fumarprotocetraric acid in the soralia.
Note: a temperate to boreal-montane, circumpolar species, which is the most common species of Bryoria in Italy, and the one with the broadest ecological range, sometimes reaching (in humid situations) the Mediterranean belt; extinct in the Po-plain and declining. 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) - except the northern B. glabra - 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)