Plants small to large, as scattered individuals or open to dense turfs or cushions, green, silver, white, golden, or red, often more than one color, acrocarpous. Stems sometimes julaceous, unbranched to sparsely branched by subfloral innovations, stolons absent (present in Rhodobryum); rhizoids few to many, color various, smooth to papillose, micronemata and/or macronemata often present. Leaves imbricate to variously contorted or twisted when dry, erect to erect-spreading when moist, broadly lanceolate, ovate, ovate-lanceolate, obovate, or spathulate; base straight or curved at insertion, decurrent or not; margins plane, recurved, or revolute, 1- or 2-stratose, rarely multistratose, limbidium present or absent; apex broadly rounded to acute or acuminate; costa percurrent, subpercurrent, or short- to long-excurrent, apiculus sometimes present when costa ends before apex, stereid band 1, well developed or occasionally greatly reduced, guide cells present or absent, adaxial supracostal cells irregularly to regularly quadrate or short- to long- rectangular proximally; alar cells usually similar to juxtacostal cells, sometimes quadrate, region small, differentiated; laminal cells relatively uniform or obscurely to distinctly heterogeneous; proximal cells usually quadrate, short- or long-rectangular, shape often distinctly different, occasionally similar to medial and distal cells; medial cells usually similar to distal cells; distal cells short to very long, hexagonal to rhomboidal, sometimes vermicular, 2-10:1, sometimes occurring in rows oblique to costa, walls thin to thick, sometimes pitted. Specialized asexual reproduction common, of 7 distinct types: spheric to ovoid rhizoidal tubers, filiform rhizoidal or leaf axil gemmae, leaf axil bulbils, stem tubers, slender leafless terminal shoots, or leaf axil deciduous brood branchlets. Sexual condition dioicous or monoicous, sometimes polyoicous; perigonia and perichaetia terminal or lateral; perichaetial leaves same size as vegetative leaves or usually larger, sometimes forming rosette, inner leaves usually highly differentiated, often narrower, costa weaker. Seta single, sometimes multiple, color various, elongate. Capsule erect, inclined, or nutant, long-exserted, ovate, spheric, cylindric, or pyriform, occasionally zygomorphic, 1-14 mm; hypophysis well differentiated or not, sometimes inflated and rugose; exothecial cells near mouth quadrate or short-rectangular, often reddish, walls thick, in 1-3+ rows, medial cells longer, short- to long-rectangular, walls straight or sinuate; annulus usually present, revoluble; operculum convex, short- to long-conic, sometimes rostrate; peristome diplolepidous-alternate, rarely reduced to 1 layer or absent; exostome white, pale yellow, or tan, sometimes reddish, teeth triangular to lanceolate, small pores sometimes present along fissural line; endostome hyaline to pale yellow, separate or sometimes adherent to exostome, basal membrane low to high, segments narrow to wide, usually broadly perforate, cilia usually appendiculate, to variously reduced in number or length or sometimes absent. Calyptra fugacious, cucullate, small, smooth. Spores shed singly or as tetrads, rarely germinating in capsule, smooth to papillose, pale yellow, tan, or nearly hyaline, rarely darker.
SELECTED REFERENCES Cox, C. J. and T. A. Hedderson. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships within the moss family Bryaceae based on chloroplast DNA evidence. J. Bryol. 25: 31-40. Ochi, H. 1992. A revised infrageneric classification of the genus Bryum and related genera (Bryaceae, Musci). Bryobrothera 1: 231-244. Pedersen, N., C. J. Cox and L. Hedenas. 2003. Phylogeny of the moss family Bryaceae inferred from chloroplast DNA sequences and morphology. Syst. Bot. 28: 471-482.