Saturday, March 13, 2021

Another liverwort

I was scrutinising the top of Butterfly Rock today when I noticed a small green patch different from the surrounding mosses.  On closer inspection it was clearly a liverwort, lower plants closely related to mosses but with a number of rather variable distinguishing features.  Once one is familiar with a few species it is quite easy to distinguish them from mosses.

My liverwort looks like bifid crestwort (Lophocolea bidentata) a very common and widespread species that grows both on wood and rocks though I have not seen one in the Green Sanctuary for 17 years.  It is one of several strongly aromatic liverworts and I wonder what the purpose of evolving scent was.  There are various insecst that live in and on liverworts, but the plants would hardly want to attract those creatures that are inclined to eat them..