This species is considered a pioneer moss, and can be found on silt of clay , usually in Eastern North America.
This species is an acrocarpous moss which has a gametophyte that is greatly reduced. The plants, which are dull to brownish in color, are small and scattered among bright green protonema (which is persistent).
The loosely sheathing leaves of Pogonatum pensilvanicum have blades that are narrow, curved and at times is hooked at the tip.
The sporangium of this species is erect (or nearly) and is at times faintly angled. The seta is reddish in color.