Cladonia cristatella is a very common and well known lichen, found throughout the northeastern USA, Canada and Europe. There are look-alike species throughout most of the world as well. The little red "caps" that resemble the red hats worn by invading British troops during the American Revolutionary war give the lichen its common name of the the "Bristish Soldier Lichen." In reality, the red hats are actually the sexual fruiting structure of the lichen, the apothecia. British soldiers have no cups, unlike other cup lichens.