Encalypta vulgaris

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Identification notes

Who doesn’t admire an Encalypta in fruit – the fire-extinguisher like capsules are at once striking and beautiful. Of our 6 extant species, 5 produce capsules regularly. E. streptocarpa is the exception and very rarely produces them.

Capsules develop over a long period, maturing in the spring. When they are not present, E. vulgaris forms neat little bright green rosettes of leaves that are rather Tortula-like. Like other Encalypta species, the leaves lack any gloss because of their unusual c-shaped cell papillae. If you are deft enough to remove a leaf in the field (easier under a stereomicroscope) then the large, hyaline basal cells are also a giveaway for this genus.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

E. vulgaris is the most widespread of the capsule-producing species and the only one likely to be encountered in England south of the Peak District.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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