|See also scale moss any bryophyte plant of the phylum Hepatophyta, growing in wet places and resembling green seaweeds or leafy mosses|
|[late Old English liferwyrt]|
|liverwort (lĭv'ər-wûrt', -wôrt') Pronunciation Key
Any of about 6,000 species of bryophyte plants belonging to the phylum Hepatophyta. Many liverworts reproduce asexually by means of gemmae. They also reproduce sexually, and their free-swimming sperm, produced in structures called antheridia, require liquid water, such as splashing raindrops, to reach the egg-producing archegonia. After fertilization, the small sporophyte grows directly on or in the gametophyte and is nourished by it. Liverworts are common in the tropics and often grow in moist soil, on damp rocks, and on tree trunks. Some liverworts have leafy bodies, while others have only a simple thallus. The name liverwort comes from the liverlike shape of the thalli of some species. See more at bryophyte.