Yesterday’s wanderings led me to the bottom of a forest ravine. I stood at the edge of a deep trench where brown churning water flowed by with a force which demanded attention. But what caught my eye instead lay on the ground only feet from the drop-off. A large patch of liverworts hugged the ground.
Liverworts, like mosses contain no vascular systems to transport water and nutrients throughout the plant. This means they are most likely to be found in damp shady locations. Not surprisingly, wherever you find liverworts, there is bound to be mosses as well. Although liverwort like shade, they also require enough sunlight to conduct photosynthesis.
The plants I found were the scented liverwort (Conocephalum conicum). This thallose liverwort is commonly found growing in the soil along stream banks or under trees. It also grows on rocks. The scented liverwort which gets its name from the sweet scent it gives off when crushed, is the largest and most common of the thalloid liverworts.