Description: Primary thallus squamulose, the squamules persistent, 1-10 mm long, 2-5 mm wide, strongly divided and irregularly incised, ascending, mostly forming dense, low cushions, pale grey-green to brownish green above, white and very finely arachnoid beneath. Podetia very small, 1-5 mm tall, 0.4-1.5 mm thick, partly ecorticate, rarely with a few squamules, cupless, almost translucent when wet (no photobiont!). Apothecia peltate, sessile on squamules or terminal on the podetia, single or clustered, pale to dark brown, more or less translucent when wet, convex. 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 brown, semi-immersed on the upper surface of the squamules, ovoid to conical, constricted at base, with a colourless jelly. Conidia cylindrical. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Spot tests: K-, C-, KC-, P+ rapidly red, UV-. Chemistry: fumarprotocetraric acid.
Note: a cool-temperate to southern boreal-montane, circumpolar lichen found on mineral, generally sandy-clay soil, occasionally on rotting wood and at the base of ancient trunks in sheltered situations. The records from southern Italy (Nimis 1993: 225) need reconfirmation.
Growth form: Fruticose
Substrata: soil, terricolous mosses, and plant debris
Photobiont: green algae other than Trentepohlia
Reproductive strategy: mainly sexual
Most common in areas with a humid-warm climate (e.g. most of Tyrrenian Italy)