Plants small and often slender and soft, lax to compact, moderately stiff-stemmed; green to pale yellow to golden brown to brown; capitulum strongly convex in drier grown forms to strongly 5-radiate and flat in wetter growing forms. Stems pale green to pale brown, often with pinkish red patches, cortex undifferentiated. Stem leaves equilateral to isosceles-triangular, small, less than 0.8 mm, mostly appressed to stem, apex acute to obtuse, hyaline cells efibrillose and nonseptate. Branches straight to slightly curved, usually 5-ranked; leaves not much longer at distal end than proximal end. Branch fascicles with 2 spreading and 2-3 pendent branches. Branch stems with cortex enlarged with conspicuous retort cells, often pinkish red at proximal end. Branch leaves narrowly ovate-lanceolate, 0.8-1 mm, straight, moderately undulate and recurved in larger and/or wetter grown forms, not undulate and slightly recurved in compact forms from drier sites; margins entire; hyaline cells on convex surface with 1(2-3) pore per cell at apical end of cell, on concave surface with round wall thinnings in cell ends and angles; chlorophyllous cells triangular in transverse section and just enclosed on concave surface. Sexual condition dioicous. Spores 21-25 µm; coarsely papillose on proximal and distal surfaces; proximal laesura more than 0.5 spore radius.