Tropical Palm Trees In A Plant Pot III

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis mature sporophytes

I know this title is misleading, but that’s how I began this series so I guess I am stuck with it. From below the cotton wool fluffy skirts of the Common Liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis)  female archegonial heads have now appeared these little lemon coloured egg-shaped pods. They are the mature sporophytes, and they are packed with microscopic spores waiting for the right conditions to pop to ensure the future of the species.

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis mature sporophytes

I am at the extremes of my camera and macro lens in trying to show these mature sporophytes. I have had to crop these images to get closer, especially when you consider each yellow pod is around 0.5mm across. Notice in the image directly above how one of these pods have gone ‘pop’, leaving it in tatters, yet releasing a new future generation of plants via its release of spores.


Please click on the images for a larger more detailed view.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Tropical Palm Trees In A Plant Pot II

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

Following on from a previous blog, these female reproductive structures of the Common Liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis) are now showing the white cotton candy-like sporophytes beneath the umbrella-like archegonial heads. These are the spore capsules which when released may germinate into new plants.

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

And all this going on in a small plant pot with only moss (those orange structures forming part of the background) and this liverwort.

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis


Please click on the images for a larger more detailed view.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Tropical Palm Trees In A Plant Pot

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

Not quite 😉 These are the maturing female archegonial heads of the Common Liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis). These are for sexual reproduction of the liverwort.

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

To get an idea of the scale of these small umbrella-like growths note the moss growing in the background. I am half expecting to see a famous moustached Italian plumber dressed in a bright red and blue uniform wearing a red cap with a big ‘M’ on it to come bottom bouncing into the frame.

Common Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis

Click on Common Liverwort to see more images and to learn more about this plant.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Common Liverwort

Marchantia polymorpha (Marchantia polymorpha) subsp ruderalis

I have been watching this liverwort grow and spread in a plant pot on my decking with some interest. It also goes by the names of Mountain Liverwort and Star-headed Liverwort, and it is one of the largest thallose liverworts. It spreads and branches across substrates, and in younger plants it is pale or yellowish-green, becoming brown or purplish as it ages. Note how the plant is covered in conspicuous holes or air pores, and cup-shaped gemma receptacles. Male plants have stalked, flat-topped, disc-like receptacles with rounded lobes, whilst female receptacles are similar, but with lobes which are finger-like.

Marchantia polymorpha (Marchantia polymorpha) subsp ruderalis

It can be seen all year round, with the reproductive structures appearing in June. This species is almost always found in man-made habitats, especially gardens, greenhouses, and garden nurseries where it can become a troublesome weed growing in plant pots. It is also found on waste ground, footpaths and brickwork, and also by streams and rivers. It is abundant and widespread throughout.

Marchantia polymorpha (Marchantia polymorpha) subsp ruderalis

Photographs of Common Liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha subsp ruderalis), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.