They form globose laminar colonies of gelatinous consistency in humid environments near bodies of water, located in mountain ranges. Different species of Nostoc can be found along mountain ranges throughout the world. Their thalli are blue-green to brownish-green, membranous, laminar and foliaceous with a gelatinous consistency when they reach the adult stage. Generally macroscopic colonies are 6-10 cm long by 4-5 cm wide and 1.5-2cm thick, exceptionally they reach large extensions and colonies gather up to half a square meter in humid environments.
Since ancient times the algae of the genus Nostoc were used as food, medicine and cosmetics.