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tasmanian liverworts - CEPHALOZIELLACEAE

cephaloziella 180701E

Cephaloziella 180701E habit
1. Cephaloziella 180701E habit on alga


This is a minute Cephaloziella with shoot diameter (including leaves) of around 100 µ that was found growing amongst/over a mass of terrestrial unbranched filamentous algae, a few strands of which are visible in pix 2 below and detailed in pix 3. For comparison the algal strands are around 35 µ wide. The leaf in pix 7 is a tad under 100 µ at the widest but the stem is only slightly over 60 µ.
Engel & Glenny¹ describe C. exigua from New Zealand with shoots at 90-100 µ as 'perhaps the smallest hepatic ever found' but our specimen would be a close contender for this record. However Schuster² describes C. exigua as being 130 µ

Close examination of pix 1 above shows two distinct forms - one with appressed leaves and another with squarrose leaves. There may be two distinct species involved or shoots are dimorphic and explains how we obtained the image of leaf cells depicted in pix 5.

It was growing on alga upon slight depressions on bare rock fairly low on the ground as well as on soil. Conditions would be rather harsh as the site is a mountain top exposed to the elements and subject to regular freezing in winter with the occasional snow cover as well as dessication for extended periods in summer.

The few stunted trees present include myrtle, celerytop, coprosoma and pepperberry. Other bryophytes present in the vicinity were another Cephaloziella , Anastrophyllum schismoides, Cuspidatula monodon, Lepidozia and Campylopus.

Schuster's drawings and description show stong affinities between C. exigua and our specimen, not the least being the diminitive size. Both have rather long shoots with distant leaves appressed to the stem with considerable amount of stem exposed (a few shoots on our specimen have contiguous leaves covering the stem fully).

Two main differences, apart from the substrate, are:
a) C. exigua has stems developing green but turning hyaline several gyres back but ours turns black at the same location. A few shoots have leaves turning black 2-3 gyres back but then retain the greenish color further down. This may be due to those parts somehow being hidden behind the alga.
b) C. exigua has a tooth on the leaf margin but this specimen has entire margins.

Shoots are devoid of rhizoids at the distal sector but they are profuse towards the proximal end. A specimen kept alive for 10 days showed rhizoid growth at the shoot tip (pix 6). A slime papilla is visible on the rudimentary underleaf in pix 4.

Gemmae were not sighted in the limited sampling but we recall having observed short shoots within the algae on earlier sightings suggesting they were newly developed plants, either from spores or gemmae.

Leaves had 2-4 hyaline globular to ovoid homogenous oil-bodies per cell (pix 5).

2. shoot with alga
3. alga
4. shoot tip
leaf cells
5. leaf cells
tip rhizoids
6. tip rhizoids
7. leaf
8. perianth


¹Engel, J.J. & Glenny, D., A Flora of the Liverworts and Hornworts of New Zealand: Volume 1, ISBN 1930723679; Landcare Research has made the contents of the entire volume online
²Schuster, R., Austral Hepaticae Part 2, ISBN 3-443-51041-8; p 122-123


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180726-1, 1, 8, 154, 403