Sunday 29 January 2012

Macro Monday - Liverwort.

These little umbrellas are part of a mat of liverworts I found at Wilsons Promontory this weekend. I’ve never seen so many of these in one place before. Although considered a simple plant, the exact nature of their reproductive cycle is more complex than would be expected. However, this is neither the time nor place for a biology lesson!

I think (and there’s a pretty emphasis on ‘think’ here) that the species is Marchantia berteroana – given their lowly status they don’t get common names!

But the name ‘liverwort’ is interesting in itself. Many plants named in English contain ‘wort’ in their common name. It normally identifies that the plant was considered to have medicinal properties. The first part of the name of the plant was based on the ‘target’ organ or illness. So, liverwort is good for the liver. Another aspect of this is the belief that the structure of the plant could be used to identify its healing properties. Some species of liverwort have shapes on their surface that look like the sections of a liver – so, clearly it must be good for that! I have no idea if liverworts are any good for the liver, but it’s a good story whatever the truth of its medical properties!

You can find more macro images – and less guff about the origins of plant names – at Macro Monday.

You can find the latest post from my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the close ups.


  1. so, then i wonder what st. john's wort would be good for?! ha! :)

  2. That's an interesting theory - maybe there's a whole world of untapped medicine out there, just because we forgot what the 'signs' meant!!

  3. I actually enjoyed the biology lesson. I do find it interesting to read about the medicinal properties of plants.

  4. Love the little umbrella's... they are so cut and jou have capture them so well Stewart!
    Greetings from Holland,

  5. Yes, you're so right on a lot of plant species having the 'wort' as part of the name. This was an exceptional, informative post. And photo!!!

    My Monday Post if you'd like to stop by to

  6. Wow, I've always wondered what Liverwort looked like.

    Herding Cats

  7. A great shot Stewart! Liverwort is such an ugly name, I think they should be called "fairy brollies".

  8. Very interesting post. These plants remind me of little green umbrella's.

  9. What a name for such pretty ground cover. Nice shot. I have never seen it before. genie

  10. Nice that is interesting shot..Visiting form MM!

  11. Interesting how these plants have different medicinal purposes.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Happy MM

  12. Interesting info, Stewart! Often wondered about "wort" and its meaning.