Hello Liverwort

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.

Liverworts are thought to be among the earliest plants to make the transition from water to land, and share a common ancestry with green algae.

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.

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14 Responses to Hello Liverwort

  1. seekraz says:

    They have a very interesting appearance. Thank you for the introduction. 🙂


  2. Bruce Hagen says:

    Rick, very nice, indeed. I don’t think that I’ve ever see a liverwort growing in nature, except growing on the upper soil surface of containerized nursery stock. While out in the yard today I spotted a cluster of the highly-prized black morels. I’ll send you a photo. They are quite rare and considered a delicacy.


  3. Another wonderfully informative post, Rick! The photographs are amazing. Do the leaves feel like they look like they would?


  4. Oooh, I LOVE liverworts, almost as much as mosses!
    But I have seldom seen them in the flesh – and what great, green crocodilian flesh it is!
    Keep up the good work 🙂


  5. Nice find and nice photos. I haven’t found any liverworts yet this year, but I’m looking.


  6. Finn Holding says:

    Gorgeous colours, and I must agree with squirrelbasket, they do like the reptile skin. Do you know why they’re called ‘liverwort’? Perhaps they possess some curative hepatic properties.


  7. krikitarts says:

    Very nice compositions and development. The first is my favorite. It also looks as if your were fortunate with an overcast sky and a bit of drizzle–my favorite condiitions.


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