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tasmanian liverworts - jubulaceae

frullania species

The family is represented by a single genus in Australia with 68 members of which 17 species have been reported for Tasmania. They are largely epiphytes with underleaves and lobules while the leaf arrangement is incubous.

Frullania clavata
1. F. clavata
Frullania rostrata
2. F. falciloba
Frullania rostrata
3. F. rostrata
Frullania deplanata
4. F. deplanata


Identification to species level requires examination of leaves on the underside as well as sexual characteristics which are not always available. The leaves are always folded over to provide 'lobules' as the detailed larger images depict.

F. clavata is fairly common on the Blue Tier, found growing on the trunks of smooth barked trees such as myrtle and wattle. It has a claw-like lobule which explains the name.

F. falciloba looks identical to the aforementioned and only a closer examination of the lobule will show how it differs.

F. incumbens and the next species both have distinctive domed lobules and nodulose cell walls; they are distinguished by lobule and underleaf shape.

F. probosciphora

F. rostrata is much smaller - image shows the lobules with rhizoids emerging from the stem. We discovered the lobules sometimes provide a home for the bdelloid rotifers.

F. deplanata - this example of a recently identified Frullania demonstrates some of the difficulties of identifying liverworts to specific level. The younger growth (pix 4) have folded flaps on the leaves which is atypical of lobules on the genus. However some but not all of the older leaves on the same stem do have typical lobules as is obvious in pix 5. These resemble the claws of F. clavata to some extent but differs in relative length to width ratio as well as shape.

Although it is an epiphyte, growth does not adhere to the substrate as do other Frullania but grows as a mat away from the base, more typical of Radula species. Likewise growth is geocentric unlike some more common species which radiate in all directions.

Frullania deplanata lobules
5. F. deplanata lobules
Frullania deplanata leaves
6. F. deplanata leaves
Frullania deplanata cells
7. F. deplanata cells
Frullania deplanata
8. F. deplanata growth


- University of Auckland has a page on Frullania
- Discover Life has a huge collection of Frullania images by Matt von Konrat as well as a key to the genera

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