Marchantiophyta: Liverworts

Viridiophytes: green plants -> Embryophytes: Land plants

The liverworts comprise about 377 genera and 6000–8000 species with a cosmopolitan distribution. The liverworts form a monophyletic group that can be distinguished from the mosses and hornworts by the production of oil bodies; these are unique organelles in which terpenoids are accumulated. While oil droplets are found in the other land plants, they are not held in special organelles. The sporophytes of liverworts also differ from the mosses in reaching maturity within the confines of protective gametophytic tissue that develops from the perigynium or calyptra. Most liverwort sporophytes are differentiated into a foot, seta, and capsule (in some marchantioid taxa e.g. Riccia, Corsinia, the foot and seta are vestigial or absent). The capsule dehiscence of liverworts is also distinct usually entailing a patterned separation into four longitudinal valves, but ranges from two valves to cleistocarpous capsules. The liverworts are traditionally organized into three groups based primarily on growth form, complex thalloids, simple thalloids and leafy liverworts; these may represent distinct lineages that diverged early in the evolution of liverworts.

Indigenous or exotic to New Zealand.

NZ Flora Web Site Link to the Ngā Tipu o Aotearoa Database

Bischler, H., 1998. Systematics and evolution in the genera of the Marchantiales. Bryophyt. Biblioth. 51, 1–201.
Boisselier-Dubayle, M.-C.; Lambourdiére, J.; Bischler, H. 2002. Molecular phylogenies support multiple morphological reduction in the liverwort subclass Marchantiidae (Bryophyta). Molecular Phylogenetic and Evolution 24: 66–77.
Capesius, I., Bopp, M., 1997. New classifcation of liverworts based on molecular and morphological data. Pl. Syst. Evol. 207, 87–97.
Crandall-Stotler, B., Stotler, R.E., 2000. Morphology and classification of the Marchantiophyta. In: Shaw, A.J., Goffinet, B. (Eds.), Bryophyte Biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 21–70.
Forest, L. L.; Crandall-Stotler, B. J. 2005: Progress towards a robust phylogeny for the liverworts, with particular focus on the simple thalloids. Journal of the Hattori Botanical Laboratory 97: 127-159.
Lewis, L.A., Mishler, B.D., Vilgalys, R., 1997. Phylogenetic relationships of the liverworts (Hepaticae), a basal Embryophyte lineage, inferred from nucleotide sequence data of the chloroplast generbcL. Mol. Phylo. Evol. 7: 377–393.
Nishiyama, T., Kato, M., 1999. Molecular phylogenetic analysis among bryophytes and tracheophytes based on combined data of plastid coded genes and the 18S rRNA gene. Mol. Biol. Evol. 16,1027–1036.
Renzaglia, K.S., Vaughn, K., 2000. Anatomy, development and classification of hornworts. In: Shaw, A.J., Goffinet, B. (Eds.), Bryophyte Biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1–20.
Shaw, J.; Renzaglia, K. 2004: Phylogeny and diversification of Bryophytes. American Journal of Botany 91: 1557-1581.
Wheeler, J.A., 2000. Molecular phylogenetic reconstructions of the marchantioid liverwort radiation. Bryologist 103, 314–333.
Last updated: 05-Mar-2013