Pouchwort family (Calypogeiaceae)
This evergreen liverwort forms a low mat of sprawling leafy stems.
Individual leafy stems are 1.5–3.5 mm. across, up to 2.5 cm. long,
and either grayish green or grayish blue. The stems are about 0.25 mm.
in diameter, more or less terete, and translucent with relatively large
rectanguloid cells. Pairs of upper-lateral leaves have an incubous
along each stem (where one leaf partially overlaps and obscures the
adjacent leaf that is closer to the growing tip of the stem). There is
also one underleaf beneath the stem for each pair of upper-lateral
Individual upper-lateral leaves are orbicular-oval, orbicular-ovate, or
shape; they lack lobes and they have no teeth along their margins. The
tips of these upper leaves are rounded to obtuse, while
their bases are rounded or indented. The underleaves are significantly
smaller in size than the upper-lateral leaves. Individual underleaves
0.5 mm. long, 0.5 mm. across, oval in overall shape, and divided into 2
terminal lobes. These lobes extend to one-fourth to one-third of the
length of each underleaf, and each lobe tapers gradually into a bluntly
pointed tip. There are no lateral lobes on the underleaves.
upper-lateral leaves and underleaves are translucent with hexagonal or
irregularly polygonal cells. The walls separating these cells are
relatively narrow. At the bases of the underleaves, clusters of fibrous
rhizoids develop that are able to adhere to the underlying substrate.
Both male and female reproductive organs develop from short lateral
branches. Male reproductive branches resemble non-reproductive leafy
stems, except they are smaller in size. Female reproductive branches
terminate in a narrow pouch-like structure called a
marsupium. The marsupium hangs below the leafy stem from which it
originated, sometimes subsiding into the substrate. After fertilization
occurs, a spore-bearing capsule on a long white stalk develops. This
splits apart into several sections to release the spores to the wind.
Sometimes this leafy liverwort develops vegetative buds (gemmae) near
the tips of its leafy stems or around the margins of its leaves. These
eventually detach themselves, after which they are capable of forming
new clonal plants under favorable conditions.
preference is deep to light shade, wet to moist conditions with high
humidity, and exposed rocky surfaces (preferably sandstone) that are
protected from the wind. This liverwort can also adapt to exposed sandy
or rocky ground in moist areas where there is protection from direct
sun and wind.
& Habitat: Mueller's Pouchwort (Calypogeia muelleriana)
is a native
liverwort that occurs uncommonly in southern and southeastern Illinois
It is widely distributed in both North America
and Europe. In Illinois, habitats include moist sandstone walls along
streams, the base of sandstone cliffs, crevices of sandstone outcrops,
and moist sandy or rocky ground in woodlands. Less often, this
liverwort has been found on shaded limestone. Mueller's Pouchwort
is restricted to high quality natural areas within the state.
Associations: The larvae of a mandibulate archaic moth, Epimartyria
auricrinella (Goldcap Liverwort Moth), is known to feed
liverworts in eastern USA, including probably Calypogeia spp.
Location: A wet sandstone
wall along a deep ravine at the Portland Arch Nature Preserve in
This is considered a difficult genus of liverworts with a history of
taxonomic instability. The species in this genus can be distinguished
by the differing shapes of their upper-lateral leaves and the differing
shapes of their underleaves. Mueller's Pouchwort (Calypogeia
muelleriana) has upper-lateral leaves that lack
teeth or lobes and
their tips are rounded to obtuse, rather than sharply angular. This
liverwort is also somewhat larger in size than some species in its
genus, and its leafy stems tend to be grayish green or grayish blue,
rather than whitish or light green. The underleaves of Mueller's
divided into two terminal lobes, and these lobes extend to about
one-fourth to one-third of the length of the underleaves.
in this genus have unlobed underleaves or their lobes extend to at
least one-half of the length of the underleaves. There are also
differences in how wide the underleaves are in relation to the diameter
of the stems to which they are attached. Mueller's Pouchwort has
underleaves that are about twice as wide as its stems, while other
species in this genus have underleaves that are only slightly wider
than their stems, and still others have underleaves that are more than
twice as wide as their stems. In Illinois, Mueller's Pouchwort occurs
in more counties than most species in this genus, although it is still
alternative spelling of the scientific name is Calypogeja muelleriana.