The 19th century records for this species are doubtful. This striking Reindeermoss is similar to Cladonia portentosa, with bight with UV florescence but is has a more yellowish tinge, with very dense rounded heads, with no distinct main axis within. The apical branches mainly branch into fours and fives. Cladonia portentosa is has a more greenish-grey tinge, does not form dense rounded heads and has distinct centra axis. The apical branches mainly branch into threes.
Morphs of Cladonia portentosa with rounded heads can be found rarely, but these do not have the other characters described above.