North America, Mexico, Central America (Guatemala), South America (Bolivia), Eurasia, Africa.
Rhytidiaceae is based on an anomalous genus without clear affinities. As originally described, Rhytidiaceae had eight genera; as circumscribed by N. Nishimura et al. (1984), W. R. Buck and D. H. Vitt (1986), and Buck and B. Goffinet (2000), the family is monospecific. Although traditionally placed near Hylocomium, Rhytidiadelphus, and Rhytidiopsis, and included in Hylocomiaceae by J. R. Rohrer (1985) and others, the cladistic analysis by Buck and Vitt placed it as the sister group of a large clade that includes such families as Amblystegiaceae and Brachytheciaceae, but not Hylocomiaceae or Hypnaceae.