Thallus: usually pendent and 6-10 (-17) cm long; branching: irregularly anisotomic dichotomous, with occasional short spinulose side branches; angles between the main branches: most often acute branches: 0.25-0.40 mm diam. at the base, 0.07-0.35 mm on main pendent branches, very uneven in thickness, usually terete, but in robust specimens becoming very angular or somewhat flattened in cross section at the base or axils (rare specimens that are longitudinally foveolate to ridged or channeled, or twisted may not belong in this species) surface: distinctly red-brown, very dull, lacking true lateral spinules, pseudocyphellae, soredia and isidia absent Apothecia: usually absent or very few, always lateral, 0.5-2.0 mm diam.; disc: red-brown; thalline margin: smooth or occasionally ciliate but disappearing in age asci: clavate, 8-spored ascospores: broadly ellipsoid, c. 6.5 x 4.5 µm Pycnidia: very rare, scattered on main branches (Brodo and Alstrup 1981) conidia: 5-8 µm long Spot tests: K-, C-, KC-, P-, UV- Secondary metabolites: none detected. Substrate and ecology: usually on conifers, rarely on hardwoods or shrubs, in open to sheltered maritime and humid intermontane localities at all forested elevations World distribution: mountainous areas of western North America, apparently tolerant of cooler, more humid habitats than N. abbreviata Sonoran distribution: Although Brodo and Hawksworth (1977) cited two specimens (as Bryoria oregana) from southern California, the occurrence of the species in the Sonoran region today is doubtful. Notes: In addition to its cortical structure, the typical sprinkling of a few short spinulose side branches and the relatively frequent apothecia with brown discs help distinguish this species from Bryoria spp., with which (in non-Sonoran areas) it is sometimes intricately entangled. Some older records of the species from southern California are probably based on misidentifications of N. abbreviata or Bryoria fremontii. The latter species tends to be reddish brown, is distinctly foveolate towards the base, usually has a distinctly shiny surface, and has basal branches that are considerably thicker than those of N. oregana.