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Delving into the Enigmatic Realm of Lophozia Moss

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Exploring the Fascinating World of Lophozia grandiretis var. proteidea (Arnell) Arnell Moss


Mosses may be small, but they play a big role in many ecosystems around the world. One particularly interesting species is Lophozia grandiretis var. proteidea (Arnell) Arnell


Lophozia-longidens-1119.jpg from: https://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/learning/species-finder/lophozia-longidens/

, a member of the


medium.jpg from: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/485470-Philonotis-arnellii

Scapaniaceae family. Commonly known simply as Lophozia


H4205353%2B1368376244.jpg from: https://v3.boldsystems.org/index.php/Taxbrowser_Taxonpage?taxid=446904

, this tiny but mighty moss is worth taking a closer look at.

Background on Lophozia Moss

Lophozia grandiretis var. proteidea is a species of leafy liverwort, which are non-vascular plants in the division Marchantiophyta. Liverworts are some of the oldest land plants, with fossils dating back over 400 million years. There are over 7000 species of liverworts found all over the world.
Lophozia belongs to the order Jungermanniales, the largest group of leafy liverworts. The Scapaniaceae family contains around 85 species across several genera.

Morphology and Identification

Lophozia grandiretis var. proteidea forms small, green mats on rocks, tree bark, and soil. The shoots are prostrate to ascending and irregularly branched. Leaves are succubous (lying flat and overlapping like shingles), bilobed, and lack underleaves.
The leaf cells have thin walls and are longer than wide. Oil bodies, unique organelles found in liverworts that contain terpenes and other aromatic compounds, are present. Rhizoids are scattered along the underside of the stem.


bad+stem+cross+section.jpg from: https://mosswalks.blogspot.com/2012/06/lophozio-sudetica.html?m=0

Lophozia is


Lophozia_excisa_4.JPG from: https://cisfbr.org.uk/Bryo/Cornish_Bryophytes_Lophozia_excisa.html

dioicous, meaning male and female reproductive structures are on separate plants. Antheridia (male) are found in the axils of bracts. Archegonia (female) are on short lateral branches. Spores are released from capsules that split into four valves when mature.


3338_Lophozia_ventricosa_2008_08_19_1591.jpg from: https://www.bryo.cz/index.php?p=mechorosty_foto&site=default&gallery=lophozia_ventricosa_var_silvicola&id=3338

Global Distribution and Habitat

Lophozia grandiretis var. proteidea has a circumboreal distribution, occurring in northern regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. It grows in a variety of habitats including:

  • Coniferous and deciduous forests
  • Bogs and fens
  • Tundra and alpine areas
  • Cliffs and rock outcrops

This species prefers acidic substrates and is often found growing with other bryophytes like Sphagnum mosses. In some areas, it is used as an indicator of old-growth forests.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses and liverworts, Lophozia plays important roles in its ecosystem:


Lophozia-guttulata-A-habitus-B-leaf-C-Median-leaf-cells-and-oil-boides-D-Gemmae.png from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Lophozia-guttulata-A-habitus-B-leaf-C-Median-leaf-cells-and-oil-boides-D-Gemmae_fig3_350635294

Lophozia has several adaptations that allow it to thrive:


From its tiny oil bodies to its global distribution, Lophozia grandiretis var. proteidea is a fascinating and important member of the bryophyte world. Next time you’re out in a northern forest, keep an eye out for this small but significant moss. What other secrets of the Scapaniaceae await discovery?

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