Plants reddish brown to dark brown. Stems 0.2–0.8 cm. Stem leaves oblong to oblong-ligulate, rugose, 1.4–1.6 mm; margins entire; apex abruptly apiculate; costa short-excurrent; distal laminal cells rounded-quadrate, 5–9 µm. Seta 2.5–4 mm. Capsule 1.7–2.2 mm. Calyptra papillose distally.
Habitat: Logs, trunks of trees frequently above 3 m, branches in tree canopies
Elevation: low elevations
Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America.
Schlotheimia rugifolia is distinguished by its rugose, abruptly apiculate leaves. Characteristically, the plants have a dark reddish brown color, which is best developed under xeric conditions.