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NZ Plants

Leafy liverworts

In leafy liverworts the eggs and sperm are most often formed at the base of leaves on the main shoot or on a short lateral branch close to the tip. Plants may be unisexual or bisexual.

Egg and sperm-producing structures

Goebelobryum ungicularis - A male plant with clusters of yellow sperm-producing sacs (antheridia) amongst the leaves.
(photo, John Braggins)

Goebelobryum ungicularis - In this liverwort sperm-containing antheridia (yellow) are formed in the axils of leaves.

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Haplomitrium gibbsiae - This moss-like liverwort has broad leaves with smooth margins. These distinctive and primitive leafy liverworts are placed in their own order, the Calobryales. Found on damp shaded banks throughout the country.
(photo, John Braggins)

Haplomitrium gibbsiae - In this liverwort, egg-containing archegonia are formed at the tips of female shoots.

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The capsule 

The fertilised egg develops into a short-lived spore-forming structure known as the sporophyte. This is nourished by the gametophyte to which it remains attached. 

(photo, Cortwa Hooijmaijers)

Lepidolaena taylorii - In this liverwort the stem forms a hollow outgrowth (coelocaule) with one or more egg-containing archegonia.

Lepidolaena taylorii - The sporophyte stalk (seta) elongates carrying the terminal capsule upward.
(photo, Cortwa Hooijmaijers)
Lepidolaena taylorii - After fertilisation, the perianth expands and the tip of the embryo sporophyte with capsule appears.
(photo, Cortwa Hooijmaijers)

Lepidolaena taylorii - After fertilisation the embryo forms a capsule with developing spores 









Lepidolaena taylorii - When the spores are ready to be released the cells below the capsule quickly elongate to form a fleshy pale stalk (seta) which raises the capsule up into the air .

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