Encalypta streptocarpa

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Identification notes

E. streptocarpa very seldom produces capsules so gametophyte characters are important in identifying it. Under the microscope, it’s immediately recognisable as an Encalypta; its leaves have opaque-looking isodiametric upper cells with remarkable C-shaped papillae (all Encalypta species have them) and these contrast strongly with patches of enlarged, hyaline basal cells.

E. streptocarpa has a non-excurrent nerve and this sets it apart from all the other British and Irish species. As it rarely produces spores, it needs another dispersal mechanism. Sometimes you’ll come across plants that look as though they are infected with a small, bright orange fungus but the elongate, multicellular structures are actually gemmae, borne in the leaf axils.

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Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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