Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random plant event: liverworts doing . . . some liverworty thing

I've decided to declare liverworts officially cool. There will be no bad-mouthing of liverworts on my blog, even if they aren't ferns. 'Cause check this shit out (I recommend opening the picture in a new window):

I know there's a lot happening in that picture, but - they're flowering. Or whatever liverworts do. They don't flower, they . . . well, I don't actually know the technical term for whatever this is. I know gametophyting doesn't sound right. (See abovelinked Wikipedia article for a sort of explanation of what's going on.) But it's awesome, in any case. Some kind of very small tropical island, as imagined by Dr. Seuss.

Why we kept this around in the first place, I don't know. Originally there was a perennial in the pot, and there may still be the remains of one: I'm not sure what that sort of grassy-looking stuff is on the left. I'm glad we're not super-organized: if we threw stuff out when it was no longer sellable all the time, I'd never have gotten to see this.


Paul said...

Very cool! Looks like the pot is a bit waterlogged (I thought it was a bog tub at first glance with the 'pool' of water on top)

Don't get to see this often

herself said...

Those are totally cool! I don't believe I've ever seen liverworts before.

chey said...

Now that is very cool. They look like little palm trees.

Michael Joseph John Pawelczyk McClellan said...

Those are the female gametangia - the archegonia - those are basically great big vaginas erupting out of the main liverwort thallus. Well, more properly multicellular post-meiotic ovarian tissue, but vaginas sound cooler. Once the sperm comes along (and the giant erupting penises will look like upturned umbrellas), you'll get a zygote in the archegonia, followed by a multicellular sporphyte (still inside the archegonia), which will then throw spores out, which will grow into more liverworts!