Stems 5-10 mm. Leaves infolded and twisted when dry, recurved when moist, broadly spatulate, 1.5-2.5 × 0.6-0.8 mm; margins plane, entire before but with a few teeth near the apex; apices acute; costa percurrent, yellow or brown, smooth; basal cells abruptly differentiated, narrower toward the margins; distal cells quadrate to hexagonal, 10-15 µm, bulging, with about 4 papillae per cell. Specialized asexual reproduction propagula borne on stalks in axils of distal leaves, leaf-like, 0.25-0.45 mm, green, papillose, costate. Sexual condition dioicous (perigonia and sporophytes unknown).
Sandstone in deep shade; moderate elevations; N.C., Tenn., W.Va.; South America (Peru); Africa (South Africa).
Syntrichia ammonsiana can easily be distinguished from S. chisosa by its 1-stratose laminae.