This familiar moss forms neat, low spreading cushions and tufts up to 1cm high. It has oval, round-tipped leaves 2-3.5mm long, which end in a fine, silvery hair-like excurrent nerve. The spore capsules are narrow and held upright, borne on 1-2cm long, thin stalks. They are yellow when young and turn reddish-brown as they ripen.
It can also tolerate some shade, and can be found growing on old brick walls and base-rich rocks. It also grows on concrete, roof tiles, and other man-made structures. It is less seldom seen growing on trees and wood. A very common and widespread species.