It’s wet.


Look closely and you can see the gemmae (eensy flecks of leaf) inside the gemma cups (circles) scattered around the thallus (leaf).

Hurricane Joaquin, who is hanging out in the Bahamas right now, is interacting with a low recently arrived from Canada, and now it’s wet. It has been wet for about a week, but this is a slightly new, wetter, kind of wet.

Liverworts are okay with this. Helps ’em spread through a reproduction pathway called “fragmentation.”  It’s a form of cloning, so new and old plants have the same genes. Small sections of tissue called gemma grow loosely attached to the parent plant inside small cup like features called gemma cups, waiting for rain to splash them out. Once a gemma lands somewhere conducive to life as a liverwort, it will produce a new plant. Oh, and a liverwort leaf is called a thallus, not a leaf. So there you go. Two new plant related words.

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