Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Common liverwort is the most widely distributed hepatic in the world [47]. It is a cosmopolitan species that occurs from tropical to arctic regions [6,14,42,47].
  • 6. Bischler-Causse, H.; Boisselier-Dubayle, M. C. 1991. Lectotypification of Marchantia polymorpha L. Journal of Bryology. 16(3): 361-365. [19944]
  • 14. Clarke, G. C. S.; Duckett, J. G., eds. 1979. Bryophyte systematics. New York: Academic Press. 582 p. [21160]
  • 42. Schuster, R. M. 1953. A manual of liverworts of Minnesota and adjacent regions. American Midland Naturalist. 49: 257-684. [21345]
  • 47. Steere, W. C. 1940. Liverworts of southern Michigan. Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin No. 17. Bloomfield, MI: Cranbrook Press. 97 p. [21162]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Occurrence in North America

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA
HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD
MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ
NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC
SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WI WY AB
BC MB NB NF NT NS ON PE PQ SK
YT

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: dioecious, gametophyte

Common liverwort has a flat, branching form. The thallus is generally 0.8 to 4 inches (2-10 cm) long and 0.3 to 0.8 inch (7-20 mm) broad. Thalli are dichotomously branched and exhibit apical growth. Numerous rhizoids attach the gametophyte (thallus) to the soil. Smooth rhizoids penetrate the soil, while tuberculate rhizoids run horizontally along the surface of the plant. Common liverwort is dioecious [5,8,9,34].
  • 5. Bischler, Helene; Piippo, Sinikka. 1991. Bryophyte flora of the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. L. Marchantia (Marchantiaceae, Hepaticae). Ann. Bot. Fennici. 28(4): 277-301. [20498]
  • 8. Bland, J. H. 1971. Forests of Lilliput. The realm of mosses and lichens. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. [Pages unknown]
  • 9. Bold, H. C.; Alexopoulos, C. J.; Delevoryas, T. 1980. Morphology of plants and fungi. New York: Harper and Row. 819 p. [21159]
  • 34. Macvicar, S. M. 1960. Student handbook of British hepatics. New York: Wheldon and Wesley, Ltd. 464 p. [21161]

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: peat, tundra

Common liverwort grows on a wide variety of sites within its range including cliffs, closed forests, alpine heathlands, peat bogs, minerotropic fens, springs, swamps, grasslands, and tundra [2,5,8,50]. It is most often found on moist or wet mineral soil, especially in recently burned areas [4,18,21]. Common liverwort grows best in subcalcareous soil conditions (pH 6.0) under full sunlight [42,46].
  • 2. Belland, Rene J.; Schofield, W. B.; Hedderson, Terry A. 1992. Bryophytes of Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, Quebec: a boreal flora with arctic and alpine components. Canadian Journal of Botany. 70: 2207-2222. [20421]
  • 4. Bird, C. D.; Scotter, G. W. 1977. Bryophytes from the area drained by the Peel and MacKenzie Rivers, Yukon and N.W.T. Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55: 2879-2918. [21344]
  • 5. Bischler, Helene; Piippo, Sinikka. 1991. Bryophyte flora of the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. L. Marchantia (Marchantiaceae, Hepaticae). Ann. Bot. Fennici. 28(4): 277-301. [20498]
  • 8. Bland, J. H. 1971. Forests of Lilliput. The realm of mosses and lichens. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. [Pages unknown]
  • 18. Durand, Elias J. 1908. The development of the sexual organs and sporogonium of Marchantia polymorpha. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 35(7): 321-335. [21347]
  • 21. Foote, M. Joan. 1983. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant communities after fire in the taiga of interior Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-307. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p. [7080]
  • 42. Schuster, R. M. 1953. A manual of liverworts of Minnesota and adjacent regions. American Midland Naturalist. 49: 257-684. [21345]
  • 46. Gilley, Susan. 1982. The non-game update: the Delmarva fox squirrel; making a comeback?. Virginia Wildlife. 43(12): 24-25. [3463]
  • 50. Torrey, Raymond H. 1932. Another report of Marchantia polymorpha after forest fires. Torreya. 32: 128-129. [14487]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: tundra

Common liverwort is found in various habitats ranging from tropical
forests to arctic tundra but is not a dominant or indicator species in
published classification schemes.

Commonly associated species in northern North America include postfire
invaders or sprouters such as willows (Salix spp.), blueberries
(Vaccinium spp.), fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), bluejoint
reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), sheathed cottonsedge (Eriophorum
vaginatum), fire moss (Ceratodon purpurea), and other mosses (Funaria
hygrometrica, Polytrichum commune, P. juniperum, P. piliferum).

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES11 Spruce - fir
FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES19 Aspen - birch
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES27 Redwood
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES31 Shinnery
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon - juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES37 Mountain meadows
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie
FRES41 Wet grasslands
FRES42 Annual grasslands
FRES44 Alpine

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

widely distributed, occurs in most types within its range

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

widely distributed, occurs in most types within its range

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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
fruitbody of Loreleia marchantiae infects and damages moribund thallus of Marchantia polymorpha

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Loreleia postii is associated with thallus of Marchantia polymorpha

Plant / epiphyte
Marchantia polymorpha grows on trunk of Dicksonia
Remarks: captive: in captivity, culture, or experimentally induced

Plant / epiphyte
scattered, sessile apothecium of Neottiella ithacaensis grows on live gametophyte of Marchantia polymorpha

Foodplant / spot causer
pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phyllosticta marchantiae causes spots on dead archegoniophore of Marchantia polymorpha
Remarks: season: 9,5

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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: prescribed fire

For information on prescribed fire and postfire response of many plant species, including common liverwort, see Hamilton's Research Papers (Hamilton 2006a, Hamilton 2006b) and these Research Project Summaries:

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Fire Management Considerations

Common liverwort revegetates areas where mineral soil has been exposed. Colonies aid in the renewal of the humus and prepare the soil for the establishment of other vegetation [49].
  • 49. Torrey, Raymond H. 1932. Marchantia polymorpha after forest fires. Torreyana. 32: 9-10. [14072]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, forbs, frequency, lichens, mesic, shrubs, succession, tree

Common liverwort is widely recognized as an initial or early invader of burned sites [7,17,24,36]. It exhibits dramatic growth following fire and in some cases attains 100 percent cover [25,29,33,37]. Common liverwort dominates the early moss-herb stage after a fire but does not persist through subsequent stages of succession [21,35,46,48]. In Alaska and Canada, common liverwort colonies are not present in prefire communities [40,41,53,54]. In northeastern Minnesota, cover of common liverwort on burned jack pine (Pinus banksiana)-black spruce (Picea mariana) sites increased until postfire year 3, but it was replaced by lichens (Peltigera spp.) by postfire year 5 [1]. Common liverwort produced large spreading mats on thin mineral soil and charred humus after a severe fire in New Jersey. The mats persisted for 2 to 3 years, then were replaced by shrubs and forbs [49]. In interior Alaska, common liverwort found in burned white spruce (Picea glauca) and mesic black spruce types had the following frequency and cover percentages [21]: Years White spruce Black spruce Stage since fire frequency cover frequency cover ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Newly burned 0-1 0 0 0 0 2. Moss-herb 1-5 15 1 6 8 3. Tall shrub- 3(5)-30 0 0 12 2 sapling 4. Dense tree 26-45 (WS) 0 0 30-55 (BS) 0 0 After the 1971 Wickersham Dome Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska, M. polymorpha was present in severely burned black spruce and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands but was not present in adjacent unburned control plots or in lightly burned stands. Marchantia polymorpha attained its highest frequency the third year after the fire when it reached 5 percent and 45 percent on black spruce and trembling aspen sites, respectively. Biomass production in grams per square meter was as follows [52]: Black spruce Aspen ----------------------------- 1973 0.1 0.5 1974 0.8 69.6 In Alaska, common liverwort was more predominant on well-drained sites than poorly drained sites after fire due to the fact that exposed mineral soil provided a more favorable seedbed [26].
  • 1. Ahlgren, C. E. 1974. Effects of fires on temperate forests: north central United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 195-223. [13110]
  • 7. Bliss, L. C.; Wein, R. W. 1972. Plant community responses to disturbances in the western Canadian Arctic. Canadian Journal of Botany. 50: 1097-1109. [14877]
  • 17. Duncan, Diana; Dalton, P. J. 1982. Recolonisation by bryophytes following fire. Journal of Bryology. 12: 53-63. [19774]
  • 21. Foote, M. Joan. 1983. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant communities after fire in the taiga of interior Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-307. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p. [7080]
  • 24. Graff, Paul W. 1936. Invasion by Marchantia polymorpha following forest fires. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 63: 67-74. [16357]
  • 25. Hall, Dorothy K.; Ormsby, James P.; Johnson, Larry; Brown, Jerry. 1980. Landsat digital analysis of the initial recovery of burned tundra at Kokolik River, Alaska. Remote Sensing of Environment. 10: 263-272. [12374]
  • 26. Hanson, William A. 1979. Preliminary results of the Bear Creek fire effects studies. Proposed open file report. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Anchorage District Office. 83 p. [6400]
  • 29. Kelsall, John P. 1957. Continued barren-ground caribou studies. Wildlife Management Bulletin Series 1: No. 12. Ottawa, Canada: Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, National Parks Branch, Canadian Wildlife Service. 148 p. [16597]
  • 33. Lutz, H. J. 1953. The effects of forest fires on the vegetation of interior Alaska. Juneau, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 36 p. [7076]
  • 35. Maikawa, E.; Kershaw, K. A. 1976. Studies on lichen-dominated systems. XIX. The postfire recovery sequence of black spruce-lichen woodland in the Abitau Lake region, N.W.T. Canadian Journal of Botany. 54: 2679-2687. [7225]
  • 36. Martin, J. Lynton. 1955. Observations on the origin and early development of a plant community following a forest fire. Forestry Chronicle. 31: 154-161. [11363]
  • 37. Methven, I. R.; Van Wagner, C. E.; Stocks, B. J. 1975. The vegetation of four burned areas in northwestern Ontario. Inf. Rep. PS-X-60. Chalk River, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Petawawa Forest Experiment Station. 10 p. [13114]
  • 40. Racine, Charles H. 1979. The 1977 tundra fires in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska: effects and initial revegetation. BLM-Alaska Technical Report 4. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office. 51 p. [8330]
  • 41. Racine, Charles H. 1981. Tundra fire effects on soils and three plant communities along a hill-slope gradient in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Arctic. 34(1): 71-84. [7233]
  • 46. Gilley, Susan. 1982. The non-game update: the Delmarva fox squirrel; making a comeback?. Virginia Wildlife. 43(12): 24-25. [3463]
  • 48. Strang, R. M. 1973. Succession in unburned subarctic woodlands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 3: 140-143. [7889]
  • 49. Torrey, Raymond H. 1932. Marchantia polymorpha after forest fires. Torreyana. 32: 9-10. [14072]
  • 52. Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T. 1979. Ecological effects of the Wickersham Dome Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-90. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 71 p. [6392]
  • 53. Viereck, Leslie A. 1982. Effects of fire and firelines on active layer thickness and soil temperatures in interior Alaska. In: Proceedings, 4th Canadian permafrost conference; 1981 March 2-6; Calgary, AB. The Roger J.E. Brown Memorial Volume. Ottawa, ON: National Research Council of Canada: 123-135. [7303]
  • 54. Wein, Ross W.; Bliss, L. C. 1973. Changes in Arctic Eriophorum tussock communities following fire. Ecology. 54(4): 845-852. [9827]

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Post-fire Regeneration

Secondary colonizer - off-site spores

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Fire Ecology

More info for the term: gametophyte

Common liverwort rapidly invades burned areas by light wind-borne spores [19,39,45]. Exposed mineral soil and high lime concentrations present after a severe fire provide favorable conditions for gametophyte establishment [28,50,51,52].
  • 19. Dyrness, C. T.; Norum, Rodney A. 1983. The effects of experimental fires on black spruce forest floors in interior Alaska. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 13: 879-893. [7299]
  • 28. Humphrey, Harry B.; Weaver, John Ernst. 1915. Natural reforestation in the mountains of northern Idaho. Plant World. 18: 31-49. [12448]
  • 39. Parminter, John. 1983. Fire-ecological relationships for the biogeoclimatic zones of the Cassiar Timber Supply Area: summary report. In: Northern Fire Ecology Project, Cassiar Timber Supply Area. Victoria, BC: Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests. 64 p. [9201]
  • 45. Scotter, George W. 1972. Fire as an ecological factor in boreal forest ecosystems of Canada. In: Fire in the environment: Symposium proceedings; 1972 May 1-5; Denver, CO. FS-276. [Ogden, UT]
  • 50. Torrey, Raymond H. 1932. Another report of Marchantia polymorpha after forest fires. Torreya. 32: 128-129. [14487]
  • 51. Uggla, Evald. 1959. Ecological effects of fire on north Swedish forests. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 52. Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T. 1979. Ecological effects of the Wickersham Dome Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-90. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 71 p. [6392]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

Obligate Initial Community Species In central Canada, common liverwort is a primary invader of marshes and edges of small ponds that are associated with fluctuating water tables [12]. Common liverwort mats can interfere with the establishment of seedlings of other vegetation [22].
  • 12. Brumelis, G.; Carleton, T. J. 1989. The vegetation of post-logged black spruce lowlands in central Canada. II. Understory vegetation. Journal of Applied Ecology. 26: 321-339. [7864]
  • 22. Foote, M. Joan. 1993. Revegetation following the 1950 Porcupine River Fire: 1950-1981. Fairbanks, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Institute of Northern Forestry. 71 p. Review draft. [19874]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: gametophyte, gemma, sporophyte

Common liverwort has two alternate forms in its life cycle: a gametophytic stage and a sporophytic stage. The gametophyte propagates itself vegetatively and also produces the gametes which give rise to the sporophyte [8,9,55]. In sexual reproduction, antheridia and archegonia develop on separate plant bodies and are borne on stalked antheridiophores and archegoniophores, respectively. Fertilization takes place prior to elongation of the stalk, and a sporophyte is formed. Spores with hygroscopic elaters (slender threads that twist and coil as they dry and propel spores into the air) subsequently develop and are released [8]. As many as 7 million spores may be formed on each plant [55]. Vegetative reproduction may occur as a result of fragmentation or gemma cup production. In fragmentation, new plants are formed when older plant parts die at the fork of a branch of a thallus. The two branches then become separate individuals [8]. Gametophytes produce propagative structures called gemma cups. Each gemma gives rise to numerous gemmae that are released when the cup fills with water. Gemmae that are transported to favorable sites form a pair of young plants [9,27].
  • 8. Bland, J. H. 1971. Forests of Lilliput. The realm of mosses and lichens. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. [Pages unknown]
  • 9. Bold, H. C.; Alexopoulos, C. J.; Delevoryas, T. 1980. Morphology of plants and fungi. New York: Harper and Row. 819 p. [21159]
  • 27. Hollensen, Raymond H.; Taylor, Jane. 1981. A gemmiparous population of Marchantia polymorpha var. aquatica in Cheboygan County, Michigan. Michigan Botanist. 8(3): 189-191. [20493]
  • 55. Wilson, C. L.; Loomis, W. E.; Steeves, T. A. 1971. Botany. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 752 p. [21163]

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Life Form

More info for the term: bryophyte

Bryophyte

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Common liverwort gametophores appear and archegonia are ready for fertilization in early to late May [18]. Sporogonia mature and spores are released in July [18,34]. Gemmae production ceases in late spring in Michigan [27].
  • 18. Durand, Elias J. 1908. The development of the sexual organs and sporogonium of Marchantia polymorpha. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 35(7): 321-335. [21347]
  • 27. Hollensen, Raymond H.; Taylor, Jane. 1981. A gemmiparous population of Marchantia polymorpha var. aquatica in Cheboygan County, Michigan. Michigan Botanist. 8(3): 189-191. [20493]
  • 34. Macvicar, S. M. 1960. Student handbook of British hepatics. New York: Wheldon and Wesley, Ltd. 464 p. [21161]

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Management

Management considerations

Dichlorophen kills common liverwort [11].
  • 11. Brown, D. H.; Ougham, H.; Beckett, R. P. 1986. The effect of the herbicide dichlorophen on the physiology and growth of two bryophytes. Annals of Botany. 57(2): 201-209. [20484]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

Historically, common liverwort was thought to be an antidote for diseases of the liver and tuberculosis due to the fact that its form and texture resemble that of an animal liver [8].
  • 8. Bland, J. H. 1971. Forests of Lilliput. The realm of mosses and lichens. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. [Pages unknown]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: formation

Invasion and formation of common liverwort mats after fire helps to prevent soil erosion [43,44]. In southeastern British Columbia, common liverwort colonized mineral soil exposed by skid trails [38]. Common liverwort has a high lead tolerance and may be an indicator of high lead concentrations [10]. It also tolerates other heavy metals [14,30,32]. Gemmalings grow in lead concentrations to 400 parts per million (p/m) and zinc concentrations to 100 p/m. Copper suppresses growth but chelated copper complexed with ethylene-diaminetetraacetic acid is tolerated at high levels [15].
  • 10. Briggs, D. 1972. Population differentiation in Marchantia polymorpha L. in various lead pollution levels. Nature. 238: 106-107. [21348]
  • 14. Clarke, G. C. S.; Duckett, J. G., eds. 1979. Bryophyte systematics. New York: Academic Press. 582 p. [21160]
  • 15. Coombes, A. J.; Lepp, N. W. 1974. The effect of Cu and Zn on the growth of Marchantia polymorpha and Funaria hygrometrica. Bryologist. 77: 447-452. [21346]
  • 30. Krupinska, Irena. 1976. Influence of lead tetraethyl on the growth of Funaria hygrometrica L. and Marchantia polymorpha L. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae. 45(4): 421-428. [20495]
  • 32. Lepp, Nicholas W.; Hockenhull, Yvonne. 1983. Growth responses of Marchantia polymorpha gemmalings in relation to concentration and chemical form of applied nickel. Bryologist. 86(4): 342-346. [20481]
  • 38. Oswald, E. T.; Brown, B. N. 1993. Vegetation development on skid trails and burned sites in southeastern British Columbia. Forestry Chronicle. 69(1): 75-80. [20566]
  • 43. Scotter, George W. 1963. Effects of forest fires on soil properties in northern Saskatchewan. Canadian Forestry Chronicle. 39(4): 412-421. [13605]
  • 44. Scotter, George W. 1971. Fire, vegetation, soil, and barren-ground caribou relations in northern Canada. In: Slaughter, C. W.; Barney, Richard J.; Hansen, G. M., eds. Fire in the northern environment--a symposium: Proceedings of a symposium; 1971 April 13-14; Fairbanks, AK. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Range and Experiment Station: 209-230. [15730]

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Wikipedia

Marchantia polymorpha

Marchantia polymorpha, sometimes known as the common liverwort or umbrella liverwort, is a large liverwort with a wide distribution around the world. It is variable in appearance and has several subspecies. It is dioecious, having separate male and female plants.

Description[edit]

It is a thallose liverwort which forms a rosette of flattened thalli with forked branches. The thalli grow up to 10 cm long with a width of up to 2 cm. It is usually green in colour but older plants can become brown or purplish. The upper surface has a pattern of hexagonal markings. The underside is covered by many root-like rhizoids which attach the plant to the soil. The plants produce umbrella-like reproductive structures known as gametophores. The gametophores of female plants consist of a stalk with star-like rays at the top. These contain archegonia, the organs which produce the ova. Male gametophores are topped by a flattened disc containing the antheridia which produce sperm.

Reproduction[edit]

Marchantia polymorpha can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction involves sperm from the male plant fertilizing ova from the female plants. A fertilized ovum develops into a small sporophyte plant which remains attached to the larger gametophyte plant. The sporophyte produces male and female spores which develop into free-living gametophyte plants.

Asexual reproduction can occur when older parts of the plant die and newer branches develop into separate plants. It can also occur by means of gemmae, balls of cells which are genetically identical to the parent and contained in cup-like structures on the upper surface of the plant. These are dispersed when rain splashes the cups and develop into new plants.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is found worldwide from tropical to arctic climates. It grows on moist soil and rocks in damp habitats such as the banks of streams and pools, bogs, fens and dune slacks. It rapidly colonizes burnt ground after fires. It often grows in man-made habitats such as gardens, paths and greenhouses and can be a horticultural weed.

Chemistry[edit]

Marchantia polymorpha produces the antifungal bis[bibenzyls] dihydrostilbenoids plagiochin E, 13,13'-O-isoproylidenericcardin D, riccardin H, marchantin E, neomarchantin A, marchantin A and marchantin B.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Niu, C; Qu, JB; Lou, HX (2006). "Antifungal bisbibenzyls from the Chinese liverwort Marchantia polymorpha L". Chemistry & biodiversity 3 (1): 34–40. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200690004. PMID 17193213. 
  • Altland, James. Marchantia polymorpha. Accessed 4 July 2009.
  • British Bryological Society (2008) Marchantia polymorpha. Accessed 4 July 2009.
  • Matthews, Robin F. (1993) Marchantia polymorpha. Accessed 4 July 2009.
  • Raven, Peter H.; Ray F. Evert & Susan E. Eichhorn (1999) Biology of Plants, W. H. Freeman, New York.
  • Rook, Earl J. S. (1999) Marchantia polymorpha. Accessed 4 July 2009.
  • Smith, AJE (1989) The Liverworts of Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: In the treatment of Marchantia polymorpha by Bischler-Causse and Boisselier-Dubayle (1991) three subspecies are accepted: ssp. polymorpha (which corresponds to M. aquatica, which is included in M. polymorpha by Stotler and Crandall-Stotler (1977)), ssp. ruderalis (roughly corresponding to M. polymorpha sensu stricto, excluding M. aquatica), and ssp. montivagans (roughly corresponding to M. alpestris, which is accepted as distinct by Stotler and Crandall-Stotler (1977)).

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Comments: Stotler and Crandall-Stotler 1977 subsume M. aquatica in M. polymorpha. Schuster 1992 treats these as two separate taxa. This record uses the Stotler and Crandall-Stotler 1977 treatment, and is broader than Schuster's treatment.

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Common Names

common liverwort
umbrella liverwort

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The currently accepted scientific name of commnon liverwort is Marchantia
polymorpha L.; it is in the class Hepaticae [16,34]. The following
varieties are recognized based on ecological and morphological
characteristics [13,14]:

Marchantia polymorpha L. var. polymorpha
Marchantia polymorpha L. var. aquatica Nees --often submerged with
the thallus erect or suberect
Marchantia polymorpha L. var. alpestris Nees --most often in dense
compact patches in alpine regions with prostrate
thallus
  • 14. Clarke, G. C. S.; Duckett, J. G., eds. 1979. Bryophyte systematics. New York: Academic Press. 582 p. [21160]
  • 34. Macvicar, S. M. 1960. Student handbook of British hepatics. New York: Wheldon and Wesley, Ltd. 464 p. [21161]
  • 13. Campbell, Ella O. 1969. Marchantia polymorpha in northern Michigan. Michigan Botanist. 8(3): 146-150. [20492]
  • 16. Duckett, J. G.; Duckett, A. R. 1980. Reproductive biology and population dynamics of wild gametophytes of Equisetum. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 80: 1-40. [20700]

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Synonyms

Marchantia aquatica (Nees) Burgeff

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