Thallus: primary squamules yellow, divided into numerous narrow strap-like lobes 0.5-2 cm in length and 0.3-0.5 mm broad, incurved when dry. Upper surface corticate, maculate and verruculose, somewhat glossy to slightly pruinose. Lower surface lacking a cortex, convex, yellow. Podetia infrequent, developing from numerous pale to dark brown ± globose outgrowths on the primary squamules [apparently ascomatal primordia], 3-10 (-20) mm tall and 1-5 mm thick, usually bearing a closed cup 1-3 mm in diam; the surface whitish, smooth to verruculose, often squamulose, slightly tomentose above.
Anamorph: conidiomata scattered, usually marginal on primary squamules, broadly pyriform to subglobose, sessile, brown to black. Conidia not observed.
Teleomorph: ascomata apothecia, infrequent [not seen in British material], in groups at the margins of scyphi and making them irregular and hardly distinguishable, 1-2 mm diam., dark brown, globose. Ascospores not observed.
Chemistry: thallus K-, P+ red, containing usnic acid and fumarprotocetraric acid, along with traces of protocetraric and confumarprotocetraric acids.
Not formally assessed. Currently only a few sites in GB&I are known, but the species may be under-recorded and should be sought in highly oceanic regions.
Differs from Cladonia foliacea by its narrower lobes and ± cushion-forming habit.
Known currently (July 2016) from sites in VC104 N Ebudes, VC110 Outer Hebrides and VC H1 South Kerry (Ireland).