Plants: 0.5–2(–5) cm. Stems: red or reddish brown. Leaves: green to dark green, slightly contorted and undulate when dry, ovate-elliptic or elliptic, 1.5–2.5 mm; base short- to long-decurrent; margins green, 1-stratose, entire or weakly toothed distally, rarely to below mid leaf, teeth single, small, blunt (often rounded), occasionally somewhat paired; apex acute, rounded-acute, or obtuse, sometimes short-apiculate; costa ending well before apex, distal abaxial surface smooth; medial laminal cells ± isodiametric or short-elongate, (15–)20–32 µm, slightly smaller near margins, not in diagonal rows, sometimes in weak longitudinal rows, weakly collenchymatous, blue postmortal color present in cells; marginal cells indistinctly differentiated from medial cells, short-linear or rhomboidal, in 1 (or 2) rows. Sexual: condition dioicous. Seta: single. Capsule: pale to dark brown, 2–3 mm; operculum conic-mammillate; exostome yellowish brown. Spores: 20–29 µm. Phenology: Capsules mature late spring.
Base of trees, stumps, soil banks, soil over rock, moist shaded sites. low to moderate elevations. B.C., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.S., Ont., Que., Ala., Ark., Ga., Iowa, Maine, Md., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.H., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Europe, Asia, Africa. Discussion.