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tasmanian liverworts - treubiaceae

Treubia species

Treubia tasmanica plants
Plants growing on rock
Treubia tasmanica detail
Close-up of plant


Treubia tasmanica is considered to be one of the intermediate forms straddling thallose and leafy liverworts. There is some suggestion that this together with Haplomitrium could be the ancient form which gave rise to the two quite distinct forms found today.

It is reported to be one of the rare liverworts - its size and growth amongst more robust vegetation compounds the difficulty of finding it. We had the amazing fortune to number it amongst the first of our discoveries on the Blue Tier. Imagine then, our surprise, when a total stranger in Hobart identified the exact location where it was growing on the basis of a close-up image!

Specimens depicted were growing on a moss-covered rock. Limited nutrients and moisture probably contributed to the compressed growth - usually the leaves are spread out wider along the stem. The shoot in right image is around 4 mm wide but Treubia normally grow to twice that width.

Superficially it looked as if the leaves were growing in a whorl which pointed to Haplomitrium but it was pointed out to us that the leaf arrangement was in fact complanate (on a flattened single plane) and was thus Treubia.

Very little information is available on the sex life of T. tasmanica - sporophyte images seem to be scarce.

Although T. tasmanica has been recorded in Victoria it was 'apparently lost ... when a landslide in the early 1970s wiped out one of the only two known colonies. The other seems to have been lost through its roadside habitat drying out'.

There is a second species T. lacunosa known to grow in Tasmania but we do not know if it is found on the Blue Tier.

- Kaimaibush of New Zealand has some images of T. lacunosa sporophytes; we expect those of T. tasmanica to look no different.
- Duke University has images of Haplomitrium blume and T. lacunosa for comparison

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