Ecology: Páramo and puna, extending down from high open montane; in exposed sites on rocks. Elevation: 2700-4400 m (Colombia: 3000-3950 m, Ecuador: 2700-4250 m, Peru: 3700 m, Bolivia: 4400 m). Distribution: Widespread, at low latitude at high elevations, in the Neotropics confined to the Andes.
Racomitrium lanuginosum is readily distinguished by the papillose-serrate, hyaline upper leaf margins and distinctly papillose lamina cells. This species has been reviewed in detail by Vitt and Marsh (1988).