Plants small to large, in loose to dense tufts or mats. Stems green, yellow-green, brown, reddish brown, or black, rarely yellowish brown, erect, arching, inclined, or plagiotropic, usually simple, sometimes branched distally, rarely dendroid; rhizoids brown or reddish brown, of two types, macronemata larger and usually strongly branched, mainly proximal, often matted, mainly restricted to leaf or branch bases distally, rarely along leaf bases, and micronemata, smaller, less branched and paler, present or absent on stems. Leaves green, yellowish green, or reddish, rarely bluish green, usually small and distant proximally, larger and more crowded distally, sometimes forming terminal rosettes, sometimes incurved upwards, usually crisped or contorted, sometimes undulate when dry, spreading, erect-spreading, reflexed, or arcuate-recurved, flat or sometimes keeled, rarely undulate when moist, orbicular, spatulate, lingulate, ligulate, elliptic, ovate, ovate-lanceolate, or obovate; base decurrent or not; margins usually plane, sometimes recurved, green, brown, red, or reddish brown, 1- or 2-stratose, rarely multistratose, rarely with stereid band, entire or toothed distally or to leaf base, teeth single or paired, sharp or blunt, of 1(-4) cells; apex acute, obtuse, acuminate, or rounded, sometimes emarginate or retuse, often apiculate, sometimes cuspidate, cusp often toothed; costa single, excurrent, percurrent, subpercurrent, or ending well before apex, distal abaxial surface smooth or toothed, adaxial surface rarely toothed, teeth of 1(-3) cells, 1 or 2 stereid bands present, rarely absent, (abaxial stereid band U-shaped in Cinclidium); alar cells undifferentiated; medial laminal cells usually short-elongate, sometimes ± isodiametric, hexagonal, sometimes pentagonal, rarely four-sided, usually 2:1 or less (3+:1 in Pseudobryum), sometimes in longitudinal or diagonal rows, smooth (mammillose in Trachycystis), collenchymatous or not, walls pitted or not; marginal cells usually differentiated, linear, rhomboidal, or rectangular, in (1-)2-3(-6) rows. Sexual condition synoicous or dioicous. Seta single or sometimes double or several, yellow, brown, red, yellowish green, yellowish brown, reddish brown, or orange-yellow, sometimes blackish with age, elongate, straight or flexuose, smooth. Capsule horizontal to pendent, yellow, brown, yellowish brown, or yellowish green, elliptic, ovate, subglobose, oblong, or cylindric; stomata cryptoporous (phaneroporous in Cyrtomnium); annulus deciduous; operculum conic or hemispheric, apiculate, mammillate, or rostrate; peristome double, complete; exostome teeth 16, usually lanceolate-acuminate, external surface lamellose; endostome usually equal in size to exostome, basal membrane high, segments often perforate with gaps along keels, cilia nodulose (endostome domed, fused at apex, perforated when mature, with keeled columns distally, alternating with shorter exostome teeth in Cinclidium). Calyptra cucullate, usually naked. Spores spheric, smooth or papillose, brown.