Plants in loose to dense tufts, green to yellowish green distally, yellow-brown to brown proximally. Stems short or reaching 2 cm or more, simple or sometimes with a few branches; rhizoids at base, smoth. Leaves rigid to flexuose or sometimes somewhat falcate when dry, erect-spreading when wet, lanceolate to subulate from a more or less sheathing base; margins entire throughout or denticulate near the apex; costa percurrent or excurrent, occupying most of subula, 1/6-1/3 width of leaf base, 1 row of guide cells, 2 stereid bands, adaxial stereid band sometimes weak, rarely absent; medial lamina cells quadrate to short-rectangular, becoming longer and thinner-walled proximally toward margins, smooth or rarely papillose at both ends. Specialized asexual reproduction occasionally by rhizoidal tubers. Sexual condition monoicous or dioicous; perichaetial leaves usually with a longer and more or less sheathing base and shorter subulate than stem leaves. Seta pale yellow to dark reddish brown, elongate, erect or flexuose. Capsule mostly erect and symmetric, sometimes ± inclined and arcuate, exserted, ovoid to cylindric, smooth; annulus present, deciduous; operculum conic to short-rostrate; peristome single, teeth16, split into 2 filiform segments or sometimes irregularly perforate or split, with or without a short basal membrane, papillose to spiculose. Calyptra cucullate. Spores globose, very finely papillose, verrucose, or with somewhat vermicular ornamentation.
Species ca. 90 (11 in the flora): worldwide, including maritime Antarctic region.
Ditrichum occurs from near sea level up to montane regions, on a wide range of soils, but is found occasionally on rock; some species are calciphilic.