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Spiral Extinguisher Moss - Encalypta procera

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988), growing in slightly crowded clumps of upright shoots (FNA 2007), green with brown tones distally, brown proximally, not shiny (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Stems 4-8 cm tall, branching freely, with a small (FNA 2007) but definite central strand (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Bent, twisted or curled when dry (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), spreading when moist, 2.5-5 mm in length, shaped like a spatula, tongue, or wide egg, narrowing to a curved and obtuse to nearly-obtuse or occasionally hood-shaped apex with a short tip or hyaline hair-point (FNA 2007); hair-point occurring in the stem apical leaves (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), to 1.2 mm in length, smooth or teeth sparse (Lawton 1971); leaf edges smooth, curved back and down from the base to above mid leaf, occasionally flat; costa extending to or not quite reaching the leaf tip, sometimes going beyond the tip in the upper leaves (FNA 2007) and then vanishing into the hair-point, coarsely papillose near the base (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), the upper dorsal face smooth (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Lower laminal cells long-oblong with fine walls, smooth; upper laminal cells nearly square, papillose (FNA 2007); papillae of median and distal leaf cells frequently lobed, occasionally shaped like a ā€œCā€ (Lawton 1971); lower marginal cells not distinct from adjacent cells (FNA 2007).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The numerous filamentous gemmae grow on rhizoids throughout the stem in sterile plants; on fertile plants, they are restricted to the proximal part of the stem (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, BC to NL and NS, WA, ID and UT e and ne to the coastal states all the way to ME (excluding NE and KS), also in AR, TN, and NC (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Carbon, Cascade, Custer, Fergus, Flathead, Glacier, Judith Basin, Lincoln, and Sanders Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 2

(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)

On soil or stone in fissures and on cliff shelves; calcicolous (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous (FNA 2007). Perichaetial bracts with hyaline hair-points (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Seta russet, 12-20 mm tall. Capsule ochre to brownish, 2-4 mm in length, with ridges twisted obliquely around it, typically borne beyond the bracts, occasionally only partially emerged; operculum 1.5-2 mm in length; peristome with 16 papillose and very slender teeth; endostome segments very narrow, joined to the exostome, papillose. Calyptra papillose, 4-8 mm tall, the bottom edge appearing deeply torn (FNA 2007).

Specialized vegetative reproduction by gemmae borne on rhizoid tufts from the stem; gemmae numerous, in the form of brown, forked filaments (FNA 2007).

  • 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
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • 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.
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Spiral Extinguisher Moss — Encalypta procera.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from