Fruiting plants are easily recognized by the broadly pyriform capsule, frequently contracted below the mouth when dry. Vegetatively P. turbinatum can be distinguished from the closely related P. pseudotriquetrum by the indistinct, occasionally bistratose leaf borders, plane, rarely decurrent leaf margins, thinner walled laminal cells and broader leaf bases. The species may also be confused with Gemmabryum caespiticium but that species has a longer excurrent costa and recurved to re volute leaf margins.
Plants medium-sized, loosely caespitose or caespitose, green, yellow-green or reddish green above, brown and frequently shiny below; terricolous. Stems 4-45 mm tall, branching by subperichaetial innovations, red or red-brown, frequently tomentose below; rhizoids red-brown, papillose. Leaves crowded above, frequently distant below, erect and slightly twisted dry, erect-spreading to widespreading wet, generally concave; ovate, ovate-lanceolate or lanceolate, (0.8-)1.2-2.5 mm long; apex acuminate; margins rarely decurrent, plane above, plane or narrowly recurved below, entire or denticulate above; border indistinct, 1-4 cells wide, cells linear-rhomboidal to linear, incrassate, unistratose to bistratose. Costa mucronate, cuspidate or short excurrent, awn 30-260 µm long; in section round to subround, lamina inserted ventrally, ventral surface cells differentiated, dorsal stereid band strong, stereids in 2-4 rows, dorsal surface cells incrassate, hydroids present between stereid band and guide cells. Upper laminal cells rhomboidal, generally thin-walled, 42-88 µm long, 15-28 µm wide; basal cells quadrate to rectangular, frequently bulging, occasionally reddish below. Propagulae occasionally present, bud-like, axillary. Dioicous. Perichaetia terminal, leaves lanceolate or narrowly triangular, margins recurved below, border indistinct. Seta 15-35 mm long, yellowish brown or reddish brown; capsule pendulous, shortly pyriform, frequently contracted below mouth when dry, yellowish brown to red-brown, urn 0.6-1.4 mm long, neck 0.8-2.0 mm long, wrinkled when dry; exothecial cells irregular in shape, incrassate, smaller towards mouth; peristome double, exostome teeth narrowly oblong-acuminate, yellow below, hyaline above, minutely papillose, endostome segments tapered above, broadly perforated, cilia 2-3, appendiculate, basal membrane high, yellowish, minutely papillose; operculum conical; calyptra not seen; spores 15-23 µm, pale, minutely granulose.
Plants medium-sized, caespitose. Stems 4-45 mm long, tomentose below. Leaves crowded above, erect and slightly twisted when dry; ovate to narrowly ovate, 0.8-2.5 mm long; apex acuminate; margins entire or denticulate above; border indistinct above, 1-4 cells wide, occasionally bistratose; costa mucronate to short-excurrent. Upper laminal cells rhomboidal, generally thin-walled; basal cells frequently bulging. Capsule pendulous, shortly pyriform.