A highly unusual and distinctive looking pleurocarp, until 2021 known as Leptodon smithii. Its flattened-looking, pinnately branched shoots grow away from the substrate (usually bark or masonry) and desiccate very rapidly, so you are only likely to find hydrated plants just after rain. But the dried shoots are easier to identify anyway as they curl up tightly like little fists. A mass of these on a shrub deep in a winter hedge is quite easy to spot because of their characteristic drab dark green to black dry colour.
N. smithii likes sheltered, places out of the wind, hence its favoured retreats deep in hedgerows and on trees growing at the foot of a slope or in a valley.
Few other large pleurocarps have leaves like this, with isodiametric mid-leaf cells and a rounded apex. Unmistakeable.Read the Field Guide account