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BFNA | Family List | BFNA Vol. 3 | Jungermanniaceae

Cryptocolea R. M. Schuster, Amer. Midland Nat. 49: 417. 1953.

Greek kryptos, cryptic and koleos, female sheath, in reference to the short perianth completely hidden by the perichaetial bracts

Steven L. Jessup

Plants prostrate and creeping with short erect apices, loosely julaceous, appearing laterally compressed below the apex, erect and connivent lateral leaves comprising a dorsal keel; shiny, pellucid green to yellow-brown, often suffused with chestnut-brown. Stems sparsely branching by lateral-intercalary innovations arising below or in the axils of perichaetial bracts, occasionally branching by apical bifurcations, branches sometimes reduced, but otherwise undifferentiated. Lateral leaves broadly and obliquely inserted, succubous-transverse, alternate, antically secund, loosely to tightly imbricate; orbicular to broadly ovate, 0.4--0.8 mm, adaxially concave in the center, margins entire, involute; apical leaves valvate and tightly appressed, weakly recurved to squarrose or broadly reflexed in distal third; leaf cells roughly isodiametric, (20--)25--35(--45) m, thin walled, trigones small, weakly developed or absent, oil bodies typically 3--5, irregularly botryoidal. Ventral leaves absent. Specialized asexual reproduction absent. Sexual condition dioicous. Androecia terminal as a short spike; antheridia 1--2 per bract, stalk biseriate. Gynoecia terminal, occasionally appearing dorsal by development of subtending branch innovations; forming distinctive conical, laterally compressed, 2-valvate heads, 3--4 mm; gynoecial bracts broadly ovate in 2--4 labiate pairs; perianth entirely concealed by bracts, short tubular, loosely and irregularly plicate, mouth crenulate to distinctly lobed, open to weakly pursed; basal ¼ to ½ of perianth fused with base of gynoecial bracts to form a short thickened perigynium centered on stem axis. Sporophytes rare. Foot embedded in stem tissue below perigynium base. Seta with exterior layer of about 18--25 cells, walls slightly thickened; cortical cells thin-walled, otherwise undifferentiated. Capsule dark red-brown. Elaters contorted, 7--10 m wide, 2-spiraled, attenuate at tips. Spores 14--16(--19) µm, granulose, red-brown.

Species 1 (1 in the flora); known from a few widely scattered locations in the Arctic and from the disjunct type locality on islands in northern Lake Superior.

Cryptocolea is a phylogenetically isolated member of the Jungermanniaceae, apparently not closely related to any other lineage in the flora. Cryptocolea is probably most closely related to the narrowly endemic and little-known Himalayian genus Diplocolea (T. Amakawa 1963).


Schuster, R. M. 1969. Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America East of the Hundredth Meridian, Vol. 2. New York.


Amakawa, T. 1963. New or little known Asiatic species of the family Jungermanniaceae. I. J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 26: 20--26.
Paton, J. A. 1999. The Liverwort Flora of the British Isles. Colchester, U.K.
Schljakov, R. N. 1975. Addimenta ad floram hepaticarum arcticae URSS. Novosti Sist. Nizhsh. Rast. 1975: 318--323.
Schuster, R. M. 1953. Boreal Hepaticae. A Manual of the Liverworts of Minnesota and Adjacent Regions. Amer. Midland Nat. 49: 257-684.
Schuster, R. M. 1988. The Hepaticae of South Greenland. Beiheft zur Nova Hedwigia, Heft 92. Berlin.
Steere, W. C. and H. Inoue. 1978. The Hepaticae of Arctic Alaska. J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 44: 251--45.

Photographs are available at:

Lower Taxon


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