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BFNA | Family List | BFNA Vol. 3 | Sphaerocarpaceae

Sphaerocarpos Boehmer, Nova Plant. Genera. 4, pl. 3. 1729.

[Greek, sphaero + carpos, globose fruit, for shape of capsule]

Stephen L. Timme

Plants as short-lived annuals, heterothallic, hyaline green, light green to bright green, sometimes becoming reddish or purplish, 2- to multistratose in the median region, grading to 1-stratose and entire lobes (wings). Antheridial plants generally 0.1--0.3 times smaller than the archegonial. Archgonial plants 2--15 mm in diameter; lobes 1-stratose, not divided or lobed, generally succubous. Cells lacking trigones, quadrate to hexagonal. Sporangia ovoid. Seta very short, not elongating, of 4 cell rows. Spores large, spore wall reticulate or not, faces aerolate; aerole with or without tubercles, cristatae, lamellae, crenulae or spines.

Species 8--10 (6 in flora): terrestrial specialists almost always occupying disturbed or temporary habitats; nearly worldwide, but disjunct, sporatic and localized throughout range; North America, South America, Europe, s Africa, s Australia.

With species of this genus, the capsules mature February through May.


Campbell, D. H. 1940. The Evolution of Land Plants. Stanford, Calif. Crandall-Stotler, B. and R. E. Stotler. 2000. Morphology and classification of the Marchantiophyta. In: Bryophyte Biology, A. Jonathan Shaw and B. Goffinet, eds. Cambridge Univ. Press, New York. Pp. 21-70. Frye, T. C. and L. Clark. 1937. Hepaticae of North America. Univ. Wash. Publ. Biol. 6: 1--162. Haynes, C. C. 1910. Sphaerocarpos hians sp. nov., with a revision of the genus and illustrations of the species. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 37: 215--230. McGregor, R. L. 1955. Taxonomy and ecology of Kansas Hepaticae. Univ. Kans. Sci. Bull. 37: 55--141. Proskauer, J. 1948. The Sphaerocarpales of South Africa. J.. S. Africa Bot. 21: 63--75. Schuster, R. M. 1992. The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America, East of the Hundredth Meridian. Chicago. Schuster, R. M. 1984. Evolution, Phylogeny and Classification of the Hepaticae. In: R. M. Schuster, ed. New Manual of Bryology, Vol. 2, pp. 892--1070. Nichinan, Miyazaki, Japan.

1 Spores separating at maturity.   (2)
+ Spores remaining in tetrads at maturity.   (3)
2 (1) Spores less than 85 µm in diameter, pale yellow to yellowish-brown; archegonial involucres less than 1.4 mm.   Sphaerocarpos cristatus
+ Spores 85 µm or greater, blackish-brown to yellowish-brown; archegonial involucres 1.5 mm or longer; southeastern U.S.A.   Sphaerocarpos donnellii
3 (1) Spore surface with thickenings in parallel or nearly parallel lines, occasionally with reticulations.   Sphaerocarpos drewii
+ Spore surface with thickenings definitely reticulate, not in parallel lines.   (4)
4 (3) Apex of the archegonial involucre with a large ostiole greater than 50 µm, generally as wide as the medial portion of the involucre; involucres tubular to ovoid; spore tetrads less than 90 µm at maturity.   Sphaerocarpos hians
+ Apex of the archegonial involucre with a small ostiole less than 140 µm, mouth contracted; involucres flask-shaped, obpyriform, clavate, obovoid to subglobose; spore tetrads generally more than 90 µm at maturity.   (5)
5 (4) Tetrads spinose in profile, less than 135 µm at maturity.   Sphaerocarpos michelii
+ Tetrads crenulate in profile, greater than 135 µm at maturity.   Sphaerocarpos texanus

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


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