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An Extinguisher Moss - Encalypta ciliata

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous, growing in slightly crowded clumps of upright shoots (FNA 2007), green to somewhat ochre distally, brown proximally, not shiny (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Stems sometimes reaching 2 cm in height, branching freely (FNA 2007) or unbranched (Lawton 1971), lacking a central strand (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Wavy, twisted or curled when dry, (Lawton 1971), spreading when moist, 4-6 mm in length, oblong, narrowing to a nearly obtuse or curved apex with a smooth hyaline awn (FNA 2007), the proximal leaf area cupped; leaf edges varying, flat or curved up and inward proximally, frequently curved back and downward at mid leaf (Lawton 1971), smooth; costa extending beyond or not quite reaching the leaf tip (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Lower laminal cells long-oblong with fine walls, smooth; upper laminal cells nearly square, papillose (FNA 2007); papillae of upper and medial cells sometimes branched (Lawton 1971); proximal marginal cells long, not papillose, faintly distinguished from adjacent cells (FNA 2007).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Although quite variable, the joint characters of peristome single, capsule non-papillose and costa extending beyond apex (when present) distinguish the species (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

Canada: YT, BC and AB, ON to NL and NS; USA: AK, WA to CA, MT to AZ and NM, ND to NE, MN, IL, WI, PA to ME; Mexico (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Carbon, Cascade, Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lincoln, Madison, and Missoula Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Basic and frequently calcareous stone fractures (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), acidic to neutral stone fissures or soil, in sheltered and exposed habitats (FNA 2007). Occurring from lowlands to elevations of 6560 feet or more (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Perigonia arising from axils of leaves (Lawton 1971). Seta spiraled when dry (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), straw-colored, 4-14 mm tall. Capsule ochre, 2-3 mm in length, typically borne beyond the bracts, occasionally only partially emerged, smooth, shrunken below the opening (FNA 2007); operculum 1-1.3 mm in length (Lawton 1971); peristome single with 16 papillose teeth, somewhat transparent to reddish-tinged. Calyptra rarely papillose near its tip, 3-7 mm tall (FNA 2007), the bottom edge trimmed with wide lobes (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Crum, H.A. and L.E. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2 volumes. Columbia University Press, New York. 1328 pp.
    • Elliott, J.C. and A.K. Pipp. 2018. A Checklist of Montana Mosses (1880-2018). Updated 3 January, 2020. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 73 pp.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2007. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 27. Bryophytes: Mosses, Part 1. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xxi + 713 pp.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
    • Vitt, D. J. Marsh, and R. Bovey. 1988. Mosses, Lichens & Ferns of Northwest North America. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 296 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Keys for the Identification of the Mosses on the Pacific Northwest. Reprinted from 'Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest'. Published as Supplement No. 2 of the Journal of the Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Nichinan, Miyazaki, Japan. 66 pp.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
An Extinguisher Moss — Encalypta ciliata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from