Plagiochila asplenioides

Plagiochila asplenioides from beside a forest path near the Ahr (a river in germany)


Family: Plagiochilaceae(de), Order: Jungermanniales(de)

The genus Plagiochila with its about 1200 species is one of the biggest and one of the most difficult liverwort genera. Its members are living mainly in regions with tropical or oceanic climate and avoid dry or continental climates. The 11 european species prefer atlantic climate too. The only exceptions are Plagiochila porelloides, which can be found on the whole northern hemisphere, and Plagiochila asplenioides.

The tropical species show a nearly incredible diversity. There are minute, filiform plants, as plants which form enormous trains hanging from trees. There are species which form ramified splendid fronds, as species with reduces leaves (section Caducilobae).

As diverse as their morphology is their ecologiy. There are many epiphytes on bark among them.

There are no underleaves in this genus, or the underleaves are reduced to small cell filaments or tips.

Plagiochila asplenioides (L.) Dum.

Leaf of Plagiochila asplenioides

Front part of a leaf of Plagiochila asplenioides from beside a forest path near the Ahr (a river in germany). In this case a strongly serrate leaf.)

A rather remarkable european member of this genus is "Plagiochila asplenioides". The decumbent plants reach lengths of about 10cm and are about 8mm broad.

This species can be found in the whole moderated zone of Europe an in the Turkey. It forms robust turfs in most cases at nutritien rich and/or calciferous places, in the flatlands as in the mountains.

The leaves of this species are oval or obovate. The edge is small and irregularly serrate until nearly smooth. (This can be rather different from plant to plant.)

Plagiochila porelloides (Torrey ex Nees) Lindenb.

This species has the same characteristics as the previous, but is in total clearly smaller: The plants reach lengths of 2-5cm, and even the cells of the leaves are smaller. Some time ago this species was contained in the previous as Plagiochila asplenioides var. minor Lindenb..

Plagiochila porelloides can be found on the whole northern hemisphere, even in the the extreme north. As Plagiochila asplenioides it grows on all kinds of substrates, and prefers calciferous soil.

by Michael Becker, 11/2000. Translated: 4/2002:
Last modification: 4/2002.