The gametophyte is yellowish-green and usually less than one-half cm wide. The thallus branches in a bifurcating pattern. In the subgenus Apoceros, there are cavities in the central strand of the thallus. The edges of the thallus are only a single layer of cells thick and have an undulating margin. It is common to find symbiotic colonies of blue-green bacteria (usually Nostoc) growing among the cells. Under a microscope, the epidermal cells have trigones.
The sporophyte is erect when mature, growing up to 5 cm tall. Like other hornworts, its surface has stomata. The interior of the sporophyte differentiates into a central column and a surrounding mass of spores and elater cells, with a distinct spiral. The spores are both green and relatively large with an ornamented surface.
Dendroceros grows on humid ground, rocky outcrops, and on the sides of trees. Its name literally means "tree horn".
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