Marchantia polymorpha “Common Liverwort” Marchantiaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
May 10, 2015
Robert Niese

Liverworts are ancient plants that likely resemble their very first ancestors that colonized land 450 million years ago. Liverworts have male and female fruiting bodies (antheridia and archegonia, respectively) that produce either sperm or eggs. These cute little flat-topped umbrellas are the antheridia and are producing sperm. The next time it rains, these sperm will find their way to a fingery-topped umbrella (the archegonia) to fertilize eggs and produce a new plant. These particular liverworts were abundant in the dense understory of a recently burned site along with the Goblet Fungus, Geopyxis carbonaria.

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