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Montana Field Guides

An Extinguisher Moss - Encalypta vulgaris

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous, growing in loose to somewhat crowded clumps of upright shoots. Stems 0.5-2 cm tall, branching freely, with a little central strand (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Twisted when dry (Smith 1980), spreading when moist, 3-4 mm in length, tongue-shaped or widely oblong, narrowing to an obtuse or nearly obtuse apex; apex sometimes hood-like or without an awn; leaf edges smooth, flat or curved up and inward slightly; costa extending to or nearly to the apex (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Lower laminal cells long-oblong with fine walls, papillose; upper laminal cells nearly square, papillose (FNA 2007); costa papillose (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
Nonacidic soil on stone (FNA 2007).

North American Range

NT, BC to ON, s to CA, ID, AZ, NM, NE, also TX; w Mexico (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Cascade, Carter, Flathead, Glacier, Gallatin, Granite, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Missoula, Park, Powder River, Powell, Ravalli, Rosebud, and Stillwater Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 10

(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)

Nonacidic soil on stone (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Seta red with yellow tones, 4-8 mm tall, carrying the capsule beyond the perichaetial bracts. Capsule ochre, 2-3.5 mm in length, faintly and longitudinally furrowed; operculum 1.5 mm in length; peristome lacking. Calyptra smooth, papillose distally, or papillose throughout, 4-5 mm tall, the bottom edge not fringed (FNA 2007).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • 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.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 pp.
  • 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
An Extinguisher Moss — Encalypta vulgaris.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from