Description: Primary thallus squamulose, persistent, the squamules rather large, flat or ascending, more or less round, slightly crenulate, 2-4(-8) mm long and 2.5-4(-6) mm wide, bright yellowish green above, white to yellow-brown beneath, sometimes sorediate along the margins. Podetia elongate, hollow inside, bright yellowish green, 2-5(-8) cm tall, mostly cupless and with pointed ends, sometimes with narrow, lacerated, very irregular, sorediate cups, much deformed and longitudinally split, corticate and often squamulose only at base, farinose-sorediate in upper part, the soredia 20-40 μm in diam. Apothecia rather rare, scarlet red. Asci 8-spored, clavate, thickened at apex, with a K/I+ blue tholus and a K/I+ strongly blue outer gelatinous sheath, Cladonia-type. Ascospores 1-celled, hyaline, ellipsoid. Pycnidia scarlet red, subglobose, semi-immersed along the margins of cups, with a red jelly. Conidia cylindrical. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Spot tests: K-, C-, KC+ yellowish, P-, UV+ white. Chemistry: usnic and sometimes squamatic acids, plus fatty acids; rhodocladonic acid in apothecia and pycnidia.
Note: a circumboreal-subarctic lichen found on organic substrata in cold-shaded situations, most common on rotting wood, e.g. on stumps and decaying fallen trunks. See also note on C. deformis.
Growth form: Fruticose
Photobiont: green algae other than Trentepohlia
Reproductive strategy: mainly asexual, by soredia, or soredia-like structures (e.g. blastidia)