Description: Primary squamules round or strap-shaped, 1-5 mm wide, abundant and usually persistent, green or gray-green, often becoming brown in part. Podetia long and slender, 20-80 mm tall, 1-3 mm in diameter, unbranched or with 1-2 branches, usually pointed at the apex but rarely with narrow cups proliferating from the center; surface with greenish areoles, more or less contiguous on the upper third, but scattered over a black stereome over much of the stalk, giving it a spotted appearance; podetial squamules very common, evenly spaced and ear- or winglike, that is, rounded, sticking out almost at right angles to the podetium. Chemistry: Medulla PD+ red, K+ yellow, KC-, C- (atranorin and fumarprotocetraric acid). Habitat: On soils rich in humus and in arctic and alpine tundra, usually associated with late snow patches. Comments: This lichen is very distinctive, with its white-on-black spotting and ear-like podetial squamules. Cladonia stricta, a similar arctic-alpine species, has a short-lived primary thallus and tall, pointed or narrowly cupped podetia with few podetial squamules; it usually lacks atranorin. Cladonia phyllophora, also with a blackened, spotty base, has thicker, stockier podetia with a more continuous cortex and is K- (lacking atranorin).