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NON-VASCULAR

PLANTS BRYOPHYTES

DIVISION MARCHANTIOPHYTA/HEPATOCOPHYTALIVERWORTS

CHARACTERISTICS
they have a gametophyte-dominant life
cycle, in which cells of the plant carry only a
single set of genetic information
estimated that there are 6000 to 8000
species of liverworts
typically small, usually from 220mm wide
with individual plants less than 10cm long
certain species may cover large patches of
ground, rocks, trees or any firm substrate

distributed globally in almost every available


habitat, most often in humid locations
the most familiar liverworts consist of a prostrate,
flattened, ribbon-like or branching structure called
a thallus(thallose liverworts)

Lunularia cruciata

most liverworts produce flattened stems with


overlapping scales or leaves in two or more
ranks, the middle rank is often conspicuously
different from the outer ranks (leafy
liverworts or scale liverworts)

Plagiochila aspleniodes

LIFE CYCLE

The life of a liverwort starts


from the germination of a haploid
spore to produce a protonema,
which is either a mass of threadlike filaments or a flattened thallus.
The protonema is a transitory stage
in the life of a liverwort, from
which will grow the mature
gametophore
("gamete-bearer")
plant that produces the sex organs.

The male organs are known as


antheridia and produce the sperm cells.
Clusters of antheridia are enclosed by a
protective layer of cells called the
perigonium.
As in other land plants, the female
organs are known as archegonia and are
protected by the thin surrounding
perichaetum. Each archegonium has a
slender hollow tube, the "neck", down
which the sperm swim to reach the egg
cell.

Liverwort species may be either


dioecous or monoecous. In dioecious
liverworts, female and male sex
organs are borne on different and
separate gametophyte plants. In
monoecious liverworts, the two kinds
of reproductive structures are borne
on different branches of the same
plant. In either case, the sperm must
move from the antheridia where they
are produced to the archegonium
where the eggs are held.

The
sperm
of
liverworts
is
biflagellatethat enable them to swim
short distances, provided that at least
a thin film of water is present. Their
journey may be assisted by the
splashing of raindrops. In 2008,
Japanese researchers discovered that
some liverworts are able to fire spermcontaining water up to 15cm in the air,
enabling them to fertilize female
plants growing more than a meter from
the nearest male.

When sperm reach the archegonia,


fertilization
occurs,
leading
to
the
production of a diploid sporophyte. After
fertilization, the immature sporophyte
within the archegonium develops three
distinct regions: (1) a foot, which both
anchors the sporophyte in place and receives
nutrients from its "mother" plant, (2) a
spherical or ellipsoidal capsule, inside which
the spores will be produced for dispersing to
new locations, and (3) a seta (stalk) which
lies between the other two regions and
connects them.

When the sporophyte has developed all three


regions, the seta elongates, pushing its way out
of the archegonium and rupturing it. While the
foot remains anchored within the parent plant,
the capsule is forced out by the seta and is
extended away from the plant and into the air.
Within the capsule, cells divide to produce
both elater cells and spore-producing cells. The
elaters are spring-like, and will push open the
wall of the capsule to scatter themselves when
the capsule bursts. The spore-producing cells
will undergo meiosis to form haploid spores to
disperse, upon which point the life cycle can
start again.

Asexual reproduction
Some liverworts are capable of asexual
reproduction; in bryophytes in general
"it would almost be true to say that
vegetative reproduction is the rule and
not the exception. For example in
Riccia, when the older parts of the
forked thalli die, the younger tips
become separate individuals

A widespread means of asexual


reproduction in both liverworts and
mosses is the production of gemmae
- multicellular bodies that give rise
to new gametophytes.
Gemmae are dispersed from gemma
cups by rainfall. Gemma cups are
cup-like structures which the gemma
reside in while waiting for rainfall.
The gemma cups, when present, are
located on the thalli.

Liverworts Marchantia with round cups, and Lunularia


with crescent cups, both containing gemmae. Gemmae
dislodged by rain are visible at the bottom

ECOLOGY

liverworts can be found in many ecosystems


across the planet except the sea and
excessively dry environments, or those
exposed to high levels of direct solar
radiation
Liverworts are more commonly found in
moderate to deep shade, though desert
species may tolerate direct sunlight and
periods of total desiccation.
they are most common (both in numbers and
species) in moist tropical areas

CLASSIFICATION
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division:
Marchantiophyta
Stotler & Stotl.-Crand., 1977 emend. 2000
Classes and Orders
o Haplomitriopsida Stotler & Stotl.-Crand.
Haplomitriales (Calobryales)
Treubiales
o Jungermanniopsida Stotler & Stotl.-Crand.
Metzgeriales (simple thalloids)
Jungermanniales (leafy liverworts)
o Marchantiopsida Stotler & Stotl.-Crand.
Blasiales
Sphaerocarpales (bottle liverworts)
Marchantiales (complex thalloids)

DIVISION MARCHANTIOPHYTA
Class Jungermanniopsida
o Order Metzgeriales (simple thalloids)
o Order Jungermanniales
Class Marchantiopsida
o Order Marchantiales (complex-thallus
liverworts)
o Order Sphaerocarpales (bottle hepatics)
o Order Blasiales
Class Haplomitriopsida
o Order Haplomitriales
o Order Treubiales

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE

reduction of erosion along stream banks


collection and retention of water in
tropical forests
formation of soil crusts in deserts and
polar regions
Aquatic thallose liverworts are sold for
use in aquariums. Their thin, slender
branches float on the water's surface and
provide
habitat
for
both
small
invertebrates and the fish that feed on
them.

Marchantia polymorpha,
with
antheridial
and
archegonial stalks

Porella
platyphylla
clump growing on a
tree

Pellia epiphylla, growing


on moist soil.

Plagiochila asplenioides,
a leafy liverwort

Riccia
fluitans,
an
aquatic
thallose
liverwort.

Conocephalum conicum, a
large thallose liverwort.

DIVISION BRYOPHYTA

Characteristics
small, soft plants that are typically 1
10cm (0.44in) tall
commonly
grow close together in
clumps or mats in damp or shady
locations
do not have flowers or seeds, and their
simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems
at certain times mosses produce spore
capsules which may appear as beak-like
capsules borne on thin stalks

have

stems which may be simple or branched


and upright or lax, simple leaves that often
have midribs, roots (rhizoids) that anchor
them to their substrate, and spore-bearing
capsules on long stems
harvest sunlight to create food through
photosynthesis
do not absorb water or nutrients from their
substrate through their roots, so while
mosses often grow on trees, they are never
parasitic on the tree
absorb water and nutrients through their
leaves

have

a gametophyte-dominant life cycle


i.e. the plant's cells are haploid for most
of its life cycle
Sporophytes (i.e. the diploid body) are
short-lived and dependent on the
gametophyte
the spore-bearing capsule enlarges and
matures after its stalk elongates

LIFE CYCLE
Most kinds of plants have two sets of
chromosomes in their vegetative cells and
are said to be diploid, i.e. each chromosome
has a partner that contains the same, or
similar, genetic information. By contrast,
mosses and other bryophytes have only a
single set of chromosomes and so are haploid
(i.e. each chromosome exists in a unique
copy within the cell). There are periods in
the moss life cycle when they do have a
double set of paired chromosomes, but this
happens only during the sporophyte stage.