This lichen is found in the moist alpine. A ground-dwelling species, netted snow lichen is found in clumps or as scattered individuals. Thalli grow 2-5 cm tall and 2-6 mm wide, upright or spreading. The thallus is pale yellow, foliose (essentially two-dimensional) with short lateral branches. The dying base is yellow or brown (never red). Black pycnidia are produced on the tips of branches. The whole thallus has a crinkled, netted texture and is never tightly inrolled, distinguishing it from Flavocetraria cucullata. Asahinea chrysantha, another yellow foliose alpine lichen, can initially look similar, but it is grows in rounded lobes, and the underside is black.
This species is almost never found fertile, and spreads asexually through fragmentation and asexual spores. The fruiting bodies are brown apothecia.
Circumboreal, with scattered locations in the southern hemisphere.