Life cycle

Mat-forming, annual spore-producing plants.

liverwort in pot
Liverwort on a soil surface.

General description

Prostrate and spreading plants that often grow together to form thick mats on the surface of excessively moist soils. The foliage is not obviously differentiated into true leaves, stems or roots. Plants have root-like rhizoids, which are not true roots but have similar functions. Small, round to crescent-shaped cups are formed on the foliage. These cups produce budlike structures that are dispersed by water to form new plants. Reproduction also occurs by spores released from palm-treelike structures. No true flowers or fruit are produced.

liverwort spore stalks
Liverwort spore stalks.


Thick, dull green, ribbon-like foliage with lobed to forked margins.

liverwort foliage liverwort foliage with cups
Liverwort foliage (left). Liverwort foliage with cups (right).


Vegetatively and by spores.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.