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tasmanian liverworts - lepidoziaceae

Lepidozia aff. hirta

1. habit

Lepidozia hirta was described in Engel & Glenny1 as being endemic to New Zealand while Checklist2 makes no mention of it occuring in Australia. However ABN3 reports a specimen collected in Holwell Gorge, Tasmania in 2005 so this could be the same species. However there are minor differences that are worth noting.

Specimen was growing on rocks with thin soil covering under shade at an altitude of around 400m in wet sclerophyll forest. It was mixed with lichens and two mosses, Dicranoloma and Hypnum species.

Pinnate branching is obvious from pix 1 but it was not uncommon to find short secondary branches as well. Leaf arrangement was imbricate covering the stem on dorsal view. There were a few ventral intercalary branches present with flagellate as well as leafy shoots. Some branches, both lateral and ventral, came with full complement of pinnate branches. Presumably these would form main stems at some stage otherwise the sporelings would end up with single very long main stems. Flagellate tips had rhizoids.

Branching was Frullania type, with bilobed and symmetrical half leaves. First branch underleaf was likewise bilobed with a pair of lobe-like spines on the sides giving the appearance of 4-fid. They appeared to be positioned on the main stem rather than on the branches.

Underleaves (pix 4, left image is from a different population) present a problem. Disk conforms to type with 6-9 cells in height at median sinus but Engel & Glenny state lobes terminate in 3-6 uniseriate cells. This specimen has 8-10 uniseriate sub-quadrate cells (pix 5). This peculiarity was not confined to a single population - we examined three colonies all of which had from 8-10 rows of uniseriate cells on some underleaf lobes. We have not determined if the other Tasmanian collection(s) shares this characteristic. A few underleaves sported rhizoids with digitate tips originating from the distal parts of disk (pix 9).

Gynoecia developed on short ventral intercalary branches off the main stem - outer bract and archegonia are shown at pix 7 and 8. No androcia were present in the sample.

L. hirta shoot
2. shoot (wet)
L. hirta stem leaf
3. stem leaf
L. hirta underleaves
4. underleaves
L. hirta underleaf lobe
5. underleaf lobe
L. hirta cells
6. cells
L. hirta bract
7. outer bract
L. hirta archegonia
8. archegonia
L. hirta underleaf rhizoids
9. underleaf rhizoids


- 1Engel, J.J. & Glenny, D., A Flora of the Liverworts and Hornworts of New Zealand: Volume 1 Online version
- 2McCarthy, P.M., Checklist of Australian liverworts and hornworts, 2006
- 3Australian Bryological Newsletter #52, July 2006 p.7

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