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.