Thallus: basal squamules small, often inconspicuous, 1-3 mm long, upper surface dull grey-green ± tinged yellow, deeply indented, yellowish brown towards the base on lower surface. Podetia 3-4 (-5) cm tall, grey-green to yellow-green, straight or somewhat curved or twisted, pointed at the apices, unbranched, the surface often entirely densely peeling-squamulose, especially towards the base, often becoming corticate-granular or ± decorticate and paler towards apices, never sorediate.
Anamorph: pycnidia sometimes present at the tips of podetia, bright red.
Teleomorph: ascomata apothecia, occasional, red, sessile or on short projections at the apex of podetia, often becoming clustered.
Chemistry: thallus C–, K–, KC+ yellow, Pd–, UV+ white (± usnic and squamatic acids, ± yellow pigment).
Assessed by Woods & Coppins (2012) as of Least Concern.
A distinctive species which, though often stunted in southern localities, is characterized by the simple, pointed podetia, the yellow-green colour, the often dense, peeling squamules, absence of soredia or granules and the red apothecia and pycnidial jelly. When sterile it is distinguished from Cladonia squamosa by the yellow colour (usnic acid), ± presence of orange pigmentation (K+ purple) at the base of the undersides of the basal squamules and absence of perforations in the podetia; entirely grey specimens, lacking usnic acid, are rarely
Chiefly Scotland, also extending locally to N England, Wales, also SW England (Devon, Dartmoor) and widely distributed but scarce in Ireland. BLS map here.
Amongst Calluna and mosses between rocks, blanket bog and particularly on stabilized scree on moorland and montane areas.