Thursday, January 26, 2023

Some lovely liverworts

 This is probably the best time of year to look for liverworts, when they are actively producing new shoots and before taller vegetation grows up around them and often hides them in spring. Here are a few that I've found recently.

Great scented liverwort aka snakewort Conocephalum conicum, growing on a wet, shady retaining wall. This species has a powerful, agreeable scent when you crush it, which to me smells like Duraglit metal polish with citrus undertones. Prominent air pores and the polygonal pattern on the surface, give it a scaly, reptilian appearance.

Pellia endiviifolia, Endive Pellia, a thalloid liverwort whose new growth in autumn and winter consists of irregular, frilly extensions from the end of each flat thallus lobe. I also found this one on a permanently wet, shady retaining wall.

Plagiochila asplenoides, Greater Featherwort, a leafy liverwort that I found growing on a wet, shady bank in open deciduous woodland in Teesdale. One of the commonest leafy liverworts in woodland.

Plagiochila porelloides, Lesser Featherwort. A smaller, more compact Plagiochila species with darker green leaves. I found this one growing in crevices in a wet, shady retaining wall. 

Metzgeria falcata, Forked veilwort, a small thalloid liverwort that I found growing on the bark of an old beech tree, at the point where rain trickles down the trunk. The thin, flat thallus forks near the tip. 

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