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tasmanian liverworts - pallaviciniaceae

pallavicinia lyellii

Pallavicinia lyellii
1. margin tooth


We discovered a fragment tangled with a moss (Pyrrhobryum mnioides) we had kept moist for several weeks. Apparently it had made new growth which was considerably narrower than the older fragment which was around 2.5 mm wide.

Pallavicinia sp.
2. thallus
Pallavicinia branching
3. ventral branching
Pallavicinia cells
4. margin cells
Pallavicinia cells
5. mid-rib cells


Description: The thallus had a thickened mid-vein but the 'wings' (pix 4) are unistratose. It is symmetrical and flat on both dorsal and ventral sides as far as could be determined. The teeth (pix 1) are tiny, comprising of 1x2 cells, pointing forward and curving in. There were small numbers of white rhizoids at the base of branches. Cells are elongated along the wings (pix 4) but much more so along the mid-rib (pix 5).

We tried using the Lucid Key cited below which yielded three results for thallose liverworts with ventral branching (pix 3). By elimination we arrived at Pallavicinia which is reported to have three species in Tasmania.

It is not P. rubristipa which is dendroid and has a concave thallus. Here it gets a little confusing because M&F (2003)1 consider records of Australian P. lyellii to be P. pseudolyellii with 'very undulating margins' and no teeth so we discarded this as well. The third species, P. xiphoides, is reported to have teeth 'several cells long' and this does not match our sample.
Subsequently we worked through Meagher's key for Victorian thallose liverworts (2006)2 and discovered that P. lyellii does have teeth comprising of one or two cells, matching our specimen.

- 1Meagher, D., & Fuhrer, B., A Field Guide to the Mosses and Allied Plants of Southern Australia, (ISBN 0 642 56828 6), Flora of Australia Supplementary Series, Number 20 - Australian Biological Resources Study/The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, 2003 (M&F)
- 2Meagher, D. 'Studies on Victorian Bryophytes 6. Key to thallose liverworts and hornworts', appearing in Victorian Naturalist Vol. 123(4) August 2006 p. 250
- Key to Australasian Liverwort and Hornwort Genera (ISBN 0 642 56840 5) by Australian Biological Resources Study on CDRom is a comprehensive interactive key to 181 genera of liverworts and hornworts. (Lucid Key)

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