Encalypta ciliata Hedw.
fringed extinguisher-moss (fringed candle snuffer moss)

Species Account Author: Wilf Schofield
Extracted from Some Common Mosses of BC

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #11093)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Encalypta ciliata
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name meaning covered with a veil, in reference to the large cone-shaped calyptra. Species name based on the slender tip of the calyptra.
Sometimes called "extinguisher moss" because of the re­semblance of the calyptra to a candle snuffer. This is not a common moss and usually generates excitement when it is first seen because, when the calyptra is present, it is distinctive and highly attr
Distinguishing characteristics:
This is the only common species that has a fringed calyptra, obvious red peristome teeth and a smooth-walled spo­rangium. The usually shaded habitat is also diagnostic.
Forming loose turfs of bluish-green to yellowish-green, non­glossy, erect shoots.
Similar Species:
Several species of Encalypta have a fringed calyptra but, of these, E. brevipes lacks peristome teeth and has hair-pointed leaves, E. brevicol/a has whitish, rather than reddish peristome teeth and hair-pointed leaves, E. a/finis also has hair-pointed leaves and the peristome teeth are in two rows, and E. alpina lacks peristome teeth. E. procera, which commonly lacks sporophytes, has leaves that have a blunt apex. Also, sporophytes of E. procera have spirally oriented grooves.


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Illustration SourceSome Common Mosses of BC

Habitat and Range

Usually on humus, often over rock, in somewhat shaded sites particularly on calcium-rich substrata but not confined to these, pre­dominantly in forested habitats, but occasionally in tundra.
World Distribution

Widespread in cooler climates of the Northern Hemisphere; also occurring in Africa and South America. In North America extending southward in the east to New York State and south­ern Wisconsin; in the west, almost continuously to Central and South America.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Encalypta ciliata var. microstoma Schimp.
Encalypta ciliata var. pilifera Flow.
Encalypta ciliata var. sibirica Weinm.