Epiphyte imposters

Epiphyte imposters

Observation - Epiphyte imposters - UK and Ireland. Description: It's always a joy to find both Microlejeunea ulicina and Cololejeunea minutissima, two absolutely ti

It's always a joy to find both Microlejeunea ulicina and Cololejeunea minutissima, two absolutely tiny epiphytic leafy liverworts. These species have different frequencies in different places. C. minutissima is frequent in VC10 and in much of southern England, particularly near the coast. The species grows in dense clusters and is often fertile, growing on a variety of trees and on other epiphytes. M. ulicina is much rarer on the Isle of Wight. M. ulicina is largely absent from all habitats but good quality inland woods. It is distinguished from Cololejeunea microscopically by the presence of underleaves (fig. 4). Macroscopically, the two have different growth patterns. Shoots of Microlejeunea rarely form radiating colonies like those of Cololejeunea, and perhaps most importantly the spacing between the lobes is significantly less in Microlejeunea, giving plants a distinctive zig-zaggy appearance. M. ulicina lacks the star-shaped perianths frequently associated with Cololejeunea.