I’m not sure if I can say that I’ve ever seen liverworts growing in the wild. The Flickr page of today’s photographer, Felipe Osorio-Zúñiga, however, is filled with his images of the diverse species of liverwort in the wilds of Chile, such as this bottle liverwort (Sphaerocarpos sp.). Finding these small organisms is probably hard enough in of itself, and appropriately photographing them is surely not easy.
Liverworts make up all taxa under the Division Marchantiophyta. Generally, liverworts are small and inconspicuous (though quite diverse in morphology). Unlike the larger species we typically feature on Botany Photo of the Day, liverworts are non-vascular (lack conducting tissues) and have rhizoids instead of roots.
The Bryophyte Flora of North America gives a botanical overview of Sphaerocarpos, which consists of about 10 species ranging throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australia. Sphaerocarpos texanus is the most common and widespread species of Sphaerocarpos, so much so that it is even considered to be weedy in some areas. Contrasting with Sphaerocarpos texanus is a member of the other genus in the family Sphaerocarpaceae. The monotypic Geothallus contains one species, Geothallus tuberosus (Campbell’s liverwort); it is endemic to a small part of southern California and is so rare that it is considered to be critically endangered (CR) by the IUCN.
The bottle-like structures characteristic of all Sphaerocarpos spp. are the archegonia (female sex organ) that are so large you can barely see the thallus (or liverwort “body”) they grow on. Each “bottle”, with a small hole at the top, surrounds one archegonium. You can read more about sexual reproduction in liverworts via the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
Another one of Felipe’s photos with some relevance to the topic of liverworts is that of a Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma darwinii). The green camouflage on this frog is a striking resemblance to the flattened thallus of some of the larger species of liverworts. These frogs are usually brown or green, and typically resemble dead leaves more than anything. I’d say this particular individual has a knack for liverwort camouflage.