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tasmanian liverworts - cephaloziellaceae
growing on charred log
two distinct coloured forms
Although these are some of the smallest of plants with stem diameters of less than 0.1 mm we were reasonably confident of finding them because of the tendency of some species to grow on charred logs as well as on other substrates. The contrast should give them prominence.
It did not take long to discover our first specimens of Cephaloziella exiliflora but we were puzzled by the presence of two different coloured populations growing in proximity - a deep green form and another that was much paler. Closer examination showed that there were reddish forms as well, sometimes within the same cluster. We do not generally expect to find two close species occupying the same niche.
It was pointed out subsequently that it was quite likely that a fungal attack was discolouring the pale looking form. This was consistent with the smaller stem size of the pale population. Literature suggests that fungal infection by ascomycetes is a familiar phenomena for the genus
It is not apparent in the first two images above that the minute leaves are bi-lobed but they are clear at high magnification. The stems are reported to sport underleaves but we have been unable to ascertain this even at high magnification. Presumably for this reason this genus is often classified as lacking underleaves.
Genus comprises of 8 species in Tasmania (including some transferred from Cephaloziaceae family). Subsequently we identified another species, C. hirta growing at the base of a fallen tree. There was another dark form growing amongst a pale terrestial algae on a rocky exposed mountain top. It had the same number of surface cells as does C. exiliflora and may or not be the same species.
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