Interesting growth habit of a Plagiochila species

by Chuck Nishihira

Plagiochila is a widespread genus of liverwort. In cultivation some are very easy to grow while others are very challenging.  This particular one has been quite vigorous and easy, and in fact has grown in some unexpected ways. Many Plagiochilas will grow submerged.  I like to maintain at least a container of the various ones this way as it requires less vigilance and maintenance.  In this particular species from Peru, many submerged pieces started to break the water surface putting out narrow growths that seem to be floating. In the first two photos, you can see these as black growths with green tips.  In life they are not actually black, but appear that way due to lighting. From these floating pieces, large, fully mature growths will sprout upwards.  Quite an unusual sight and possible one that could be used to great effect in a terrarium.  I’ve also included a photo of some younger growth showing the normal habit of this Plagiochila.  But, even here interestingly enough is something unique. In a closed container, the small growths completely covered the plastic walls.  In a sense they created their own substrate. From this they sprout and create the normal beauty that they are so good at.