Leskea varia Hedwig, Spec. Musc. 216. 1801. -- Hygroamblystegium varium (Hedwig) Monk., Hedwigia 50: 275. Orthotheciella varia (Hedwig) Ochyra, Moss Flora of King George Island, Antarctica.
Plants in loose and rather thin mats, pale to dull green. Stems to 3 cm long, prostrate to weakly ascending, irregularly branched. Stem leaves markedly larger and relatively more slender than branch leaves with all leaves erect-spreading to spreading when moist, little changed when dry. Leaves to 1.5 mm, 2.5–3: 1, symmetric and lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, not at all plicate, long acuminate with the acumens straight. Leaf margins plane and entire or weakly serrulate in distal 1/3, not decurrent. Median cells smooth, to 8 µm wide, rhomboidal, 2–3: 1, rather thick-walled, not pitted. Alar cells isodiametric-rhomboidal with walls not strongly thickened, only gradually differentiated from adjacent laminal cells. Apical cells gradually more elongate than median cells. Costa extending into acumen, often somewhat sinuose distally, without an abaxial spine. Pseudoparaphyllia deltoid, strongly overarching the bud, occasionally singly placed and resembling paraphllia. Axillary hairs of 3 similar cells, to 50 µm with no basal brown cells, not offset from leaf insertion. Rhizoids light brown, to 16 µm, smooth, sparingly present on older prostrate stems. Autoicous with perigonia near perichaetia. Perichaetial bracts costate, lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, about 4: 1 with cells uniformly long and straight to 10: 1. Seta brown to red-brown, smooth, to 2 cm long. Capsule brown to red brown, inclined, not strangulate. Urn to 1.8 mm, short cylindric to oblong, strongly arcuate, 3.5–4.5: 1. Exothecial cells in regular vertical rows, to 20 µm wide, 2: 1, mostly with oblique transverse walls, with moderately thick, red-brown walls and with stomata not seen in our specimens. Operculum conic to apiculate, about 1/5 as long as urn. Annulus differentiated in 1–2 rows of enlarged cells, not revoluble. Exostome to 500 µm long, horizontally lightly striate below, smooth above, yellow-brown. Endostome segments smooth and nodose, keel, mostly shorter than exostome with basal membrane about equal in length to the segments. Cilia 1–3, nodose. Calyptra cucullate, smooth, without hairs. Spores finely papillose, to 15 um.