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Moist to wet, subcalcareous mineral soil. Best growth is obtained in full sunlight but will tolerate some shade. Colonizes readily after fire via spores.
Large, thallose, dioecious liverwort; thallus dichotomously branched, to 10 cm long and 2 cm wide, with many fine rhizoids that anchor it to the soil. Antheridiophores and archegoniophores umbrella-like, the latter more deeply lobed; spores with hygroscopic elators that aid in dispersal. Vegetative reproduction can occur via fragmentation of the thallus or dispersal of gemmae from gemma cups.
Gametophores produced in May; sporangia in July.
Wetland indicator: NA
This is a common liverwort of disturbed habitats. Considered a weed of nurseries and greenhouses as it thrives in the conditions created by sprinklers and misting systems. It is easily grown in a terrarium with moderate light, although gametangia are only produced in high light conditions.
key to images
Matthews, Robin F. 1993. Marchantia polymorpha. In: Fire
Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ .
USDA, NRCS. 2002.
The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Michael Hough © 2010