Monday, 9 May 2022

How to: deal with Marchantia

Marchantia are taking over the world.....

You might not recognise the name, but you will certainly know what Marchantia (common name Liverwort) are - they form flat plates of shiny green growth on the surface of pots, with strange round suckers or sockets, looking like some sort of organic Lego.

They tend not to be much of a problem in the main garden, in fact I can't remember the last time I found them growing "in the wild", as it were, but in pots, my goodness, they are little devils.

And it's not just the Lego phase:  without warning, they will suddenly send up a miniature forest of tiny palm trees, less than an inch high (oh, all right, less than 2.5cm grumble grumble) but perfect in shape and form. 

Like that - right.

And that's bad news, because those are the, in effect, "fruiting bodies" which spread the spores around.

But those Lego cups are also reproducing, so there is no escaping them.

I suppose that someone, somewhere, must like them, but over the last couple of years, they are driving me mad.

Presumably in response to the pathetic summers that we have had recently, my front garden has been infiltrated by these slimy little bryphoytes (ok, they are not actually slimy, but they look as though they ought to be) and I have spent all summer going round all the pots in the garden on a Forth Bridge basis, scraping them off, and topping up the soil.

I have never been troubled with liverworts until the last year or two: is this a sign of climate change? Or is my front garden getting damper? Am I watering too much? Certainly I have at least two frogs living in it, which explains why I have no slugs... I still have snails though, so if anyone knows a thrush who is looking for a nice place to live, please send them along. Anvil stone provided.

Assuming that the Marchantia don't "march" all over my garden, that is!

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