This fructose lichen grows particularly on young trees and in shady areas. It is very common in open windy spaces with poor vegetation and sparse hedging.
Lichen is a composite organism which consists of a symbiotic association of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner, usually a green algae. You will notice that the example in the photo has long branchlike fronds whereas the live example is tighter and shorter. Because this lichen is under stress it also has small cup shaped structures which will release spores to reproduce.
Lichens can survive extreme weather conditions because they simply go into a suspended state and wait for conditions to improve. And they are a great pollution indicator as they will only grow in clean air.
They are effective in the treatment of diseases such as bronchitis and tuberculosis, and have also been used for various dyes. This lichen was known as ‘Candle lichen’ as it used to be used for colouring the candles at Easter, producing a bright yellow dye.