Cladonia furcata (Huds.) Schrad. subsp. furcata var. furcata
Cladonia furcata subsp. furcata var. racemosa (Hoffm.) Flörke
Primary thallus squamulose, basal squamules up to 3 mm diam., rapidly disappearing, upper surface grey-greenish, lower surface white. Podetia ± dichotomously branched with acute angles, forming dense irregular tufts, sometimes with a few squamules and hollow at their base, apices often forked, markedly pointed but not spiny, upper surface corticate throughout, smooth, often faintly pale marbled-areolate -reptile skin-like-, occasionally with scattered squamules and cracks, pale grey-brown, olive-grey with purple tinge, possibly turning brown when intensively exposed to sun. Seldom fertile and in that case apothecia, small, globular, brown, ± corymbose, on short lateral branches towards apices. Photobiont: trebouxioid. C-, K ± yellow, KC-, Pd+ red, bitter tasting. Common, on heathlands, acidic or weakly alkaline dunes or sandy soils, also in clear woodlands. Not to confuse with Cladonia rangiformis with stiff spiny tufts and sweet tasting (and not bitter) and K+ yellow and Pd- or rarely P+ orange-red. In case of podetia markedly pale and minutely squamulose, see Cladonia scabriuscula. When chemical spot tests are negative, see Cladonia crispata var. cetrariiformis.
N.B. This species is highly variable, and many taxa ((and their intermediate forms) have been characterized, ranked as varieties, forms or morphotypes according to the authors as described below.
Cladonia furcata subsp. subrangiformis is browner and with white and mealy concretions at the base of the podetia.
Cladonia furcata subsp. furcata var. palamaea Podetia ± lying, brown: this morphotype is rather rare, on well-lit dunes, sandy slightly calcareous soils.
Cladonia furcata subsp. furcata var. corymbosa Podetia erected, topped by numerous brown and small rounded apothecia, corymbose, often warped and cracked at apices. Restricted to woodlands.
Cladonia furcata subsp. furcata var. pinnata Apothecia rare, podetia erect, squamules staggered on most of their length. Restricted to woodlands.
Cladonia furcata subsp. furcata var. furcata = Cladonia furcata subsp. furcata var. racemosa. Apothecia rare, podetia erect, ± cracked and dented on their length with few squamules towards their base. Considered as the type taxon in the present description. In heathlands with or without trees and sometimes in clear woodlands.*