Thallus: primary thallus persistent, a basal crust of warted or cylindrical, grey, sometimes blueish, phyllocladia. Cephalodia 0.5-1 mm diam., ± hemispherical or irregular, with a rough surface, dark reddish brown to black, frequently interspersed amongst the phyllocladia, also on pseudopodetia, containing Stigonema. Pseudopodetia to 1(-2) cm tall, infrequent or absent, erect, simple or sparingly branched, ± tomentose above with ± warted, occasionally incised, squamulose phyllocladia.
Anamorph: no information available.
Teleomorph: ascomata apothecia, 1-2 mm diam., rather frequent, terminal on pseudopodetia or on basal phyllocladia. Hypothecium hyaline.
Chemistry: thallus K+ yellow, KC+ violet, Pd+ faintly yellow, UV+ white (atranorin and lobaric acid).
Assessed by Woods & Coppins (2012) as of Least Concern, but listed as Nationally Scarce and included in the list of lichens associated with metalliferous habitats that is cited in Section 42 of the NERC Act 2006.
Stereocaulon glareosum is like S. condensatum but is usually taller, to 2.5 cm, with conspicuous, sparingly branched pseudopodetia. Poorly developed morphs of S. dactylophyllum can be confused with S. condensatum, but the thallus is Pd+ orange.
Scotland (Highlands & NE coast), extending to Wales; formerly E England (East Anglia, NE Yorkshire, Durham). BLS map here.
On sandy and gravelly soil in montane situations, often growing on small rock fragments, also at lower altitudes on acid, coastal heaths and on metal-rich soils.