I have this nice moss garden established in my yard, but starting
last year, an intruder has been spreading rapidly in areas where
moss does well. The "leaves" are leathery and thick. I have not
been able to find any root system. Roundup does not seem to
have much effect. See www.nihonsuki.com/plantID/alien_plant.jpg
for a photo. Does anyone know what this is and how to get rid of
It's liverwort all righty or a closely allied equally primitive plant. It
can be the bane of greenhouses, & likes both shady & sunny over-watered
locations. It can be quite pretty & an acceptable groundcover in polluted
highly alkaline sites that won't sustain much else, & it will even break
down toxins & absorb heavy metals. Roundup will do wonders for killing the
moss & making the area more pleasant for liverwort, which soaks up toxins
like a happy sponge.
It does not compete well with taller mosses or with perennial
groundcovers, but shorter mosses it can crawl right over the top of them
completely barriering the ground like a plastic coat. It is NOT highly
adaptable however & only goes to town in conditions that favor it;
changing the conditions (in particular, the pH) may be all that is
required to keep it from over-competing, though I wouldn't promise that'd
Liverworts usually prefers soils that are alkaline & if the area is just
slightly acidified, the liverwort should weaken while strengthening the
moss, as most decorative mosses prefer acidic soil (there are certainly
exceptions but as a generality the really cool mosses live in places with
acidic leaflitter or swampmuck or drippings from wet trees, whereas one
ideal condition for liverwort is a burned-down forest with gawdawful
amounts of potash).
There are alpine houses with very thrilling liverwort collections & it
isn't absolutely necessary to hate the stuff. I encouraged some for a
while in a fern garden where it thrived for about three years, but the
soil was acidic & when I forgot to give it some chalk & clean the leaf
litter off of it, it melted away in year three or four despite my intent
to let it spread as far as it wanted.
-paghat the ratgirl
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Two close relatives of mosses are liverworts and hornworts. I think
these are hornworts and the small curved growths are the sporophytes.
A place to start looking is:
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