Fossombronia Liverwort

As promised more details on the liverwort found in the last outing. Jeanne has narrowed it to the Fossombroniaceae family. After carefully examining it could be Fossombronia longiseta. However, this is not a certain ID. Not all the characteristics match what we saw in the keys so we will stick with a Fossombronia species. In any case, here is a close look at the liverwort. And sorry, no common name as it often is the case in mosses, lichens and liverworts.

On our initial discovery, we had only found small patches of the liverwort. However, just a bit down stream we found these huge patches of it. Most of the green is the liverwort.

While searching for possible IDs, I found a species account of a similar liverwort and that the person watched the capsules do their thing in six days. So I sprayed some water on the specimens and closed the lid hoping this one would do the same.

My terrarium! I was hoping more seta would grow and stand up. After one night, it did respond and more capsules sprung up!

An individual!

Mostly we found that they were crowded together.

Now it was time for a closer look! I tested, out of curiosity, whether or not if it had the same psoromic acid as the previous thallose liverwort did. And it did! This is not a key characteristic for liverworts, never the less I found it interesting. At least it matches what a lichen chemical make-up suggests for that acid. After conferring with my chemist (Wes), he said that my supposition could be right but that to be sure it would need more extensive testing. Thanks Wes!

Here is a close up the leaf! It matched the drawings in a reference book.

Under the dissecting scope with an immature capsule at the top!

A side shot with the rhizoids (the dark hairy root like stuff)!

A capsule broken open!

Each spores is about 50 microns across! So you see the spiral like things? These are called elaters. In some liverworts these tubular cells help with spore release. I could not find if these elaters actually assisted the spores in this case. On a side note, I had to laugh when I first saw the elaters. I thought, finally I get see to the double helix of DNA. To actually see DNA, an electron microscope is needed or so the Google search said.

Though hard to get the color right in a photo for me, to my eyes I called it a positive reaction of dark orange. This also is not something in the keys for liverworts. Similarly, just a curiosity for me to try.

Lastly, for a current event this morning. It was frosty (29 degrees) and foggy here this morning!

Here the fog people (shadows at the top of the trees) were advancing to our position LOL!

The fog was layered a few feet above the ground!

Frost covered my shoes! Tomorrow, more of the grasslands!

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


  1. I love this post! Your liver worth discussion and photos are very interesting. The Fog People are magical and kind of scary. The Sun looks like their glowing eyes.

    1. I had hoped the Fog People would have brought us a fogbow, but no such luck. I have seen a fogbow, but only one time in 2018. I keep looking for another. 🙂

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