Thallus 3-10(-15) cm tall,shrubby to subpendant, ± erect at the base, usually becoming ± pendulous towards the apices, main branches to 1.5 mm diam., cylindrical and not constricted at the point of attachment, often very richly branched and crowded towards the base, with long side branches, fibrils few or absent. Surface grey-green or yellow-grey, blackened at the base and usually with transverse and radial cracks, main branches with evenly spaced, densely papillate, thinner branches smooth. Soralia conspicuous, frequent, rounded, plane to slightly excavate, sometimes larger than half branch diameter, discrete or occasionally forming paler eroded patches, isidiomorphs absent or very rare. Cortex relatively thick, medulla dense to somewhat lax, axis generally thick.
Anamorph: not known.
Teleomorph: ascomata rarely produced.
Chemistry: three chemotypes occur: (a) thallus C–, K+ yellow→blood-red, KC–, Pd+ orange (usnic, norstictic and stictic acids); (b) C–, K+ yellow→blood-red (norstictic and salazinic acids); (c) thallus C–, K–, KC–, Pd+ yellow (usnic and psoromic acids).