T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Marchantia foliacea

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Marchantiophyta
Class: Marchantiopsida
Order: Marchantiales
Family: Marchantiaceae
Genus: Marchantia
Species: M. foliacea
Binominal name: Marchantia foliacea 

The Marchantia foliacea is found anywhere it is cool and damp. It is often seen on the surface of garden pots and in damp areas of gardens and well as in the bush. They are simple plants without roots or vascular systems. They were once considered related to mosses and part of division Bryophyta, but more recently have been assigned their own plant division, Marchantiophyta.
Marchantia's waxy-looking thallus shows differentiation into two layers: an upper photosynthetic or assimilatory region and a lower storage region with a well defined upper epidermis with air channels. It also features tiny cup like structures called gemmae cups, which is used for asexual reproduction. This is a widespread means of asexual reproduction in both liverworts and mosses.
Gemmae cups are cup-like structures which the gemmae (multicellular bodies) reside in while waiting for rainfall to splash them out where the will develop into another liverwort plant. At certain times of the year little star-shaped structures on stalks appear on the female plant.

Marchantia foliacea has a dual life-cycle with one generation producing male and female parts, and the next generation producing spores in gemmae cups.see photos below  
Marchaqntia foliacea with gemmae cups.

Marchantia foliacea with male receptacles.

Male receptacles


Female archegonia of Marchantia foliacea