Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans prefers shadier areas of forest soil banks, humus, rotten logs, rocks, tree trunk bases, along disturbed trails on compacted and bare soil patches.
Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans is a pleurocarpous moss with shiny, irregularly-branched, flattened shoots that creep over the substratum.
The flattening of the shoots makes the leaves appear as if they are arranged in 2 rows along the stems.
Leaves are lanceolate and have a weak double costa. Small teeth are usually present along the upper margins.
The root “taxiphyllum” is a reference to the apparent arrangement of the leaves in two rows. A look at higher magnification reveals that the leaves are in fact spirally arranged on the stem.
It is most likely due to this intitial impression of the leaves being in two ranks along the stem that Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans is occasionally mistaken for a liverwort. For comparison, here is a closeup of a leafy liverwort shoot.
In winter, this species produces asexual propagules in the leaf axils near the tips of shoots.
Propagulae, or gemmae, appear as masses of tiny, brittle, yellow-green branchlets. The propagulae break away and grow into new plants.
The sporophytes are not common and mature in spring.
The sporangium is nodding and red-brown at maturity.