Monosolenium

Scientific name

Monosolenium Griffith

Common names

liverwort

Family

Monosoleniaceae

Could be confused with

Pallavicinia, Pellia, Riccia, Ricciocarpus

Native distribution

cosmopolitan

Species commonly cultivated

Monosolenium tenerum Griffith (Asia)

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

information not available

Habit

flat, thalloid

Brief description

Liverwort (nonvascular plant). Gametophyte is the life stage most used in aquaria. Gametophyte consists of a broad, flat spreading thallus with root-like scales and rhizoids below, which anchor the thallus to the substrate. It reproduces asexually by producing vegetative diaspores (gemmae), from gemmae cups on the dorsal surface of the thallus, which germinate to form a new plant genetically identical to the parent plant. The gemmae are dispersed when water droplets fall into the splash cups; the shape of the cup makes the water splash out, and it takes some gemmae with it, carrying them far away from the parent plant.

Natural habitat

shallow water and wet ground

Additional comments

Monosolenium material cultivated for the aquarium trade has in the past been erroneously sold as Pallavicinia Gray or Pellia Raddi (P. Davison, R. Gradstein, personal communication). Pallavicinia has a pale conducting strand or “mid vein” while Pellia is uniformly colored. Monosolenium is "readily distinguished from Pellia endiviifolia, when sterile, by its papillose rhizoids, ventral scales and the presence of numerous ocelli in the epidermis (easily visible with the hand lens as grayish-white dots)" [The Bryological Times Number 108, p. 9, January 2003, "Rare liverwort turns up as aquarium plant: request for information" by Rob Gradstein]. Another species of liverwort, Riccardia chamedryfolia (With.) Grolle [image © Rayon Vert Aqua], has been cultivated relatively recently. It appears that the number of species of liverwort being cultivated in aquaria will only increase. Many photosynthetic plants and liverworts will adapt to conditions underwater if given intense light, carbon dioxide, and nutrient fertilization.