Marchantiaceae

The Marchantia species are found not only in the bush, but also in gardens, plant pots - anywhere it is cool and damp. The thallus ( the vegetative growth of a plant which isn't divided into stem and leaves) is waxy-looking, often with little circle things (gemmae cups). At certain times of the year little star-shaped structures on stalks appear and these can make the plant more noticeable.

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The gemmae cups are for vegetative (asexual) reproduction. In the top cup you can see the little round gemmae, which will get splashed out and will develop into another liverwort plant.

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Marchantia berteroana

This image shows both male (brown) and female (green) reproductive structures. The female structure is not as finely divided as in M. foliacea.

Marchantiafoliacea

Marchantia foliacea

This is one often found in gardens as well as in the wild. All those structures with "arms" are the female reproductive parts. If you look hard enough you will also see some gemmae cups (bottom right corner).

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One way to tell the difference between M. berteroana and M. foliacea is to look underneath the thallus. If the scales are crimson and do not go all the way to the margin, it is M. foliacea. On M. berteroana, the scales are colourless and extend to the margin.

Marchantiamacropora3

Marchantia macropora

This species is easily recognised by the large pores on the thallus. These pores are for gas exchange.

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