Leaves lingulate, apex rounded-acute, apiculate to short-mucro-nate, margins recurved from base to near the apex, not bordered; costa subpercurrent, percurrent or very short-excurrent, lacking an adaxial pad of cells but distally narrowing or weakly thickened, 3-4(-5) cells across the convex adaxial surface; distal laminal cells hexagonal, (12-)15-18 µm wide, 1:1, strongly papillose with 4-5 2-fid papillae. Sexual condition gonioautoicous. Sporophytes exerted. Seta 1.2-1.5(-2.5) cm. Capsule stegocarpic, not systylius, cylindric, erect and nearly straight, urn usually 3-4 mm; peristome length 1000-1500 µm, teeth of 32 filaments twisted at least one full turn, basal membrane 300-600 µm; operculum 1.3-1.6(-2) mm. Spores 11-15 µm, spheric, finely papillose.
Capsules mature spring. Soil, rock; low to high elevations (0-2000 m); Ariz., Calif., Colo., Nev., N.Mex., S.Dak., Tex., Utah, Wyo.; Mexico (Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora); Europe; s Asia; n Africa.
Tortula inermis has the aspect of a Syntrichia with its ligulate, apiculate leaves and strong costa, but the plant is yellow or orange in KOH solution, and the costal section reveals a rounded stereid band. It is related to T. subulata and T. mucronifolia but the lack of a strong mucro and the narrow but nearly complete recurving of the leaf margins are diagnostic.