Thallus bushy. The primary thallus often disappears early, but sometimes is preserved for a long time, formed by strongly indented yellowish or greenish-gray scales. Podetsia up to 8 cm high, cylindrical, simple, narrowed or widened in the upper part into regular scyths with an entire or profiling margin. The surface of the podetia is covered with a yellowish-grayish crustal layer at the base, sometimes it reaches the middle of the podetia. The rest is powdered with powdery soredia (dust-like particles used for vegetative propagation) of sulfur or straw-yellow color. Fruiting bodies (apothecia) are bright red, not common, located along the edge of the scyphs. Spores are ellipsoid, 8-10 x 2.5-3.5 µm.
It grows on soil rich in organic matter (humus, peat), on decaying wood, plant residues in light pine and deciduous forests. In Russia, it is distributed throughout the forest zone.
Contains usnic acid and zeorin. Has antibiotic activity. It is used as a raw material for obtaining the Binan product.