Cladonia surprisingly growing under dense scots pine on sandy heath. no other plants or lichens growing under the young dense trees
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Some fungi are very poisonous so a mistaken ID could have serious consequences.
No interactions present.
Vaguely globular heads with 2- or 3-branched tips make it either C. portentosa or C. mediterranea but the latter is confined to The Lizard in Cornwall, so C. portentosa it is.
i think this may be a fruiticose lichen as it has a pronounced 3D shape
Absolutely - this is one of the few Cladonia species to have a fruticose shape - it is quite common and may be put in the subgenus Cladina. There is a handy little book called 'Cladonia: a field guide' by N.G.Hodgetts ISBN 187370108X which I think is still in print and in my opinion is worth the few pounds if this is a group of lichens you are interested in.
Lat/Lng: 51.996832, -0.645198
OS grid ref: SP931340