Description: Primary thallus squamulose, often persistent only at the base of podetia or ephemeral, the squamules ascending, small to middle-sized 2-5 mm long, 0.8-5 mm wide, irregularly crenate or lobed, glaucescent to olive-green above, white beneath. Podetia slender and elongate, hollow inside, greenish glaucescent in shade-forms to brownish grey or dark brown, non- or scarcely squamulose, 4-8(-12) cm tall, 0.5-1.5 mm thick (fertile podetia to 2 mm thick), unbranched or sparingly branched, pointed or with small, rapidly flaring, closed, toothed cups, smooth, corticate-areolate, the cortex continuous or disrupted into flat areoles separated by white lines. Apothecia rare, brown, convex, terminal or on the margins of cups. 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 dark, semi-immersed, on the margins of the cups or at the tip of cupless podetia, with a colourless jelly. Conidia cylindrical. Photobiont chlorococcoid. Spot tests: K-, C-, KC-, P+ red, UV-. Chemistry: substances of the fumarprotocetraric acid complex.
Note: a circumpolar, cool-temperate to southern arctic lichen found on acid soil, more rarely on decaying wood in upland areas. According to Ahti (in litt.) its presence in Italy is dubious, and most records from the Alps could refer to C. macroceras. A revision of Italian material is much needed.
Growth form: Fruticose
Substrata: soil, terricolous mosses, and plant debris