Plants small to robust, usually forming tufts or loosely caespitose, green, reddish green or yellowish green above, brownish below. Stems usually erect, irregularly branched, usually red, central strand usually present, hyalodermis or sclerodermis present. Leaves erect, often contorted when dry, spreading when wet, ovoid to lanceolate or ligulate, often differentiated at base; margins usually entire, often revolute at base, at times strongly involute throughout, at times bordered by thick-walled or elongate cells; costa single, ending near apex or excurrent, with guide cells median or ventrally exposed, 1 or 2 stereid bands, epidermal cells often differentiated; upper cells small, usually subquadrate, at times oblate, hexagonal or short-rectangular, occasionally bistratose, usually papillose but also mammillose or smooth; basal cells usually enlarged, thin-walled, smooth. Asexual reproduction often by propagula on leaves, in leaf axils or on rhizoids. Dioicous or autoicous. Perichaetia usually terminal, occasionally lateral. Setae usually elongate; capsules stegocarpous, rarely cleistocarpous, usually erect and symmetrical, spherical, ovoid or cylindric; opercula conic to long rostrate; annuli of vesiculose cells often differentiated; peristome usually present, occasionally rudimentary or absent, typically with 16–32, erect or twisted, filiform teeth borne on a short or long basal membrane. Spores mostly spherical, finely roughened. Calyptrae cucullate, occasionally mitrate.