This tall, light green feather moss often grows in dense mats in open woodlands. It is easy to recognize by its perfectly pinnate form, looking much like a feather, and shiny yellow hue. Stems grow 3-10 cm tall. The evenly spaced side branches taper to a point. The leaves along the pinnate branches are slightly hooked. If you pull up a stem and press the tip against your hand, the moss flexes, due to its resistant and somewhat wiry central strand. Other mosses in Denali lack this character and perfect feather-like appearance.
Plants are dioecious, male and female sexual structures produced on separate plants. This species is typically asexual, spreading laterally to form mats.