Cal's Plant of the Week
Conocephalum conicum
Scented Liverwort

Conocephalaceae

Conocephalum conicum

Conocephalum conicum, or Scented Liverwort, is one of the most common of the thallose (leaf-lacking) liverworts. They are distributed in damp forest floors and on stream sides over much of the Northern Hemisphere. Their gametophytic thallus is dichotomously branched, meaning that the shoot apex splits exactly in half during branching producing two equal branches. They have a distinctive smell when crushed and make excellent terrarium plants for low light areas.

Blooming Time: The species is dioicious (male and female gametes are formed on separate plants). The male receptacles (containing the antheridia) are sessile and tinged purple, whereas the female receptacles (containing the archegonia) are like tiny umbrellas, sometime reaching up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall.

Culture: Conocephalum conicum are very easy to culture. We grow these under benches in the greenhouse where they thrive in the moist well shaded soil. For culture in terrariums, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The soil mix needs to have a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Plants should be kept moist at all times. We use distilled water, because the plants do not like chlorinated water. Unsuitable water conditions will injure the plants and sometimes will cause complete die off.

Propagation: Conocephalum conicum are easily propagated by division.

Conocephalum conicum was featured as Plant of the Week October 24-30, 2003.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.