Loreleia marchantiae - Liverwort Navel

Loreleia marchantiae Liverwort Navel

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Insertae sedis - Family: Insertae sedis

The diminutive and delicate Liver Navel is a relatively rare find in Britain and northern Europe, but it is more widespread in southern Europe. It favours damp, shady habitats rich in mosses and liverworts. Various shades of orange, depending on age, the caps are deeply funnelled (infundibuliform is the term that mycologist often use to describe goblet-shaped caps) and at maturity the margins become wavily ridged (crenulate), making these fascinating little fungi very attractive indeed.

Marchantia polymorpha - Umbrella Liverwort

Loreleia species, of which only two are recorded from Britain (the other being Loreleia postii, the type species for this genus), penetrate the rhizoids of liverworts, and it is possible that they are symbiotic with them. Loreleia marchantiae is often found with the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha (left), commonly referred to as the Umbrella Liverwort. (Liverworts are primitive plants that do not reproduce by means of flowers; they can reproduce asexually and sexually - the latter case by means of spores borne on archegoniophores and antheridiophores (female and male sex organswhich form on separate plants. Antheridiophores are umbrella-like structures while the female achegoniophores have finger-like projections.

In older texts this fungus species and Loreleia postii were included in the genus Omphalina. Genetically they are fairly close to the various (also generally orange-capped) Rickenella fungi. Some authorities place this genus in the family Rickenellaceae, which sits within the order Hymenochaetales; however, the British Mycological Society currently records its order and family as taxonomically not yet settled (= insertae sedis).

Identification guide

Loreleia marchantiae - young fruitbodies

Description

Orange cap with a deep central depression (like a 'navel'!); with whitish or greyish-orange decurrent gills. The stem is dull orange.

Size

Cap of fruitbody ranging typically from 0.5 to 2cm across; the fruitbodies are 1 to 2cm tall, with stem diameter usually in the range 0.5 to 1.5mm.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not significant.

Habitat & Ecological role

In moss and liverwort-rich permanently damp soil beside streams and ditches, with the liverwort Marchantia vulgaris.

Season

August and September.

Occurrence

Uncommon or rare in most parts of Britain; fairly common in southern Europe.

Similar species

Loreleia postii is similar but its margin is not strongly crenulate; it is found most often on peat and on burnt ground, although both of these Loreleia species have been known to appear in greenhouses and with indoor pot plants.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

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