J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 43: 110, figs. 5 – 9. 1978.
Plants large, in intricate tangles, sometimes distally filiform, green or more commonly yellowish to brownish, blackish in old parts. Stems both creeping and pendent flexuose, terete-foliate, unevenly branched, sometimes fairly regularly pinnate, branches terete-foliate; central strand weak, sometimes absent; pseudoparaphyllia broadly triangular; axillary hairs of 3 or 4 cells. Stem leaves in dense foliage erect-spreading to squarrose from clasping base, broadly ovate; base cordate; margins subentire to serrulate; apex acute to acuminate; costa to 60–80% leaf length, slender, terminal abaxial tooth small; laminal cells linear; basal juxtacostal cells short-rectangular; leaves in loose foliage erect to erect-spreading from clasping base, narrowly to broadly ovate; base auriculate; apex abruptly acuminate; costa to 30–70% leaf length, terminal spine absent; submarginal alar cells in leaf corners, usually only 2–4, sometimes slightly enlarged and pellucid; laminal cells linear; basal juxtacostal cells shorter. Branch leaves not differentiated. Sexual condition dioicous; perichaetial leaves erect, acumen erect to spreading, costa extending to base of acumen. [Seta reddish, short, rough. Capsule erect, brownish, cylindric, straight; annulus separating by fragments; operculum conic-rostrate; peristome hygrocastique, modified. Calyptra mitrate, pilose. Spores 14–23 µm].
Fla., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, c Africa, Pacific Islands (Galapagos Islands).
Species 5 (1 in the flora).
Zelometeorium has long been treated as a member of the tropical and subtropical family Meteoriaceae, although its closest relative, Meteoridium, was considered a member of Brachytheciaceae by some authors (M. A. Lewis 1992). Results of molecular phylogenetics (M. S. Ignatov and S. Huttunen 2002) definitely indicate the position of both within Brachytheciaceae, a sister family to Meteoriaceae. Sporophytes are very rare, and the description is based on Latin American plants.