Plants in lax to dense tufts, glaucous to whitish or yellowish. Stems 0.5-10(-16) cm, erect to inclined or procumbent, simple, 2-fid, or with subfloral whorl of branches; pentagonal in cross section, hyalodermis present, epidermis not prorulose; ± tomentose proximally, rhizoids papillose. Leaves in many rows, rarely in 5 distinct rows, erect-spreading or somewhat secund when dry, erect-spreading to spreading when moist, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 1-stratose; base not sheathing; margins plane or revolute, serrulate usually throughout, teeth single or paired; apex acute to acuminate or rarely obtuse; costa subpercurrent to excurrent, abaxial surface smooth or rough; basal laminal cells usually more lax than distal cells; distal cells subquadrate to oblong or linear, prorulose at distal or proximal ends on both surfaces, rarely smooth or with centric papilla, walls thick or seldom thin. Specialized asexual reproduction absent or by small deciduous brood branches in distal leaf axils. Sexual condition dioicous, less frequently autoicous or rarely synoicous; perigonia gemmiform or discoid; perichaetial leaves scarcely distinct from stem leaves. Seta single, usually elongate, straight or flexuose, rarely curved. Capsule erect, horizontal, or inclined, globose to ovoid, furrowed when dry (smooth to irregularly wrinkled in P. cernua), mouth oblique; annulus absent; operculum conic convex, blunt to mammillate or bluntly apiculate; peristome double or rarely absent; exostome teeth dark red to reddish brown, lanceolate, densely and finely papillose, apically free; endostome yellowish to pale brown, segments keeled, cilia well developed or rudimentary. Spores spheric to reniform, densely and usually coarsely papillose.