AskDefine | Define liverwort

Dictionary Definition

liverwort n : any of numerous small green nonvascular plants of the class Hepaticopsida growing in wet places and resembling green seaweeds or leafy mosses

User Contributed Dictionary



From liver + wort "plant", from the belief that some species looked like livers and were useful for treating the liver medicinally.


  • italbrac RP /ˈlɪv.ə.wɜːt/
  • italbrac US /ˈlɪv.ɚ.wɝːt/|/ˈlɪv.ɚ.wɔːrt/


  1. A bryophyte with a leafy stem or leafless thallus characterized by a dominant gametophyte stage and a lack of stomata on the sporophyte stage of the life cycle.


  • 1929 — Shiv Ram Kashyap, Liverworts of the Western Himalayas and the Panjab Plain, vol. I, p. 1.
    The liverworts are either thallose, without any differentiation into stem and leaves, or leafy.
  • 1985 — W. B. Schofield, Introduction to Bryology, p. 135
    Since the thallus of some liverworts resembled a liver, such plants were considered useful in making a concoction that would aid in curing liver ailments. Hence the name "liver-plant," or liverwort. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that liverworts possess curative properties.
  • 2000 — Barbara Crandall-Stotler & Raymond E. Stotler, "Morphology and classification of the Marchantiophyta". pages 21-70 in A. Jonathan Shaw & Bernard Goffinet (Eds.), Bryophyte Biology, page 21.
    Like other bryophytes, liverworts are small, herbaceous plants of terrestrial ecosystems.



See also

Extensive Definition

Liverwort may refer to either
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