Stems 4-15 mm. Leaves longitu-dinally folded and spirally twisted around the stem but little crisped when dry, wide-spreading when moist, oblong-lingulate to spatu-late, 2-4.5 × 0.6-1.6 mm; margins revolute in the proximal 1/2, entire; apices acute; costa excurrent into a smooth to slightly toothed, hyaline awn, brown or reddish, smooth; basal cells abruptly differentiated, narrower toward the margins; distal cells polygonal, or quadrate, 12-20 µm, with 8-10 papillae per cell; marginal cells not differentiated. Specialized asexual reproduction absent. Sexual condition autoicous. Seta red, 15-25 mm. Capsule red, 3-3.8 mm, straight or slightly curved, with a distinct neck; operculum 1.2-1.5 mm, red; peristome 0.8-1.1 mm, red, the basal membrane pale, about 1/4 the total length. Spores 12-18 µm, papillose.
Vertical limestone faces; high elevations; Colo., N.Mex.; Europe; Asia; n Africa.
Only recently discovered in the Rocky Mountains, Syntrichia sinensis may have been overlooked elsewhere in the flora area. For example, it is to be expected in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada of California where limestone is exposed.