Flora Protection Order_Sample

Protection of Ireland's most rare and endangered bryophytes

Leiocolea rutheana (Limpr.) Müll.frib. var. rutheana

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Leiocolea rutheana (Limpr.) Müll.frib. var. rutheana

Common name: Lesser Fen Notchwort
Genus: Leiocolea
Family: Lophoziaceae
Group: Liverwort

Status in Ireland: Endangered


  • L. rutheana is a large, leafy liverwort that ranges in colour from green to brown and can sometimes have a purple hue.

  • It’s shoots can grow up to 6cm long and 5mm wide.

  • The leaves are lobed and the under leaves are small but eye catching.

  • This species usually forms large tufts.


 This species is found growing in calcareous fens. It prefers damp and unshaded ground and can usually be found among other bryophytes. It most likely to be found growing at water level and can sometimes even be found to grow in the water.


 This species is paroicous ( the male and female reproductive organs are near of beside each other). Gemmae and not found on the plant and it is fertile. Sporophytes have been found to be present.

Distribution in Ireland

There are three specimens recorded in the Herbarium all from W. Co. Mayo. These specimens were collected on the slope of Mweelrea, W. of Crossmolina and and the north slope of Lackawee. The first two specimens were collected in 1987 and the third in 2003 so the populations are continuing to thrive in their habitats.

Threats and Conservation

 The ecosystem where this species grows is a rare one in Ireland. Fen conservation should become a priority in these areas where this species grows and grazing should be monitored. Extra care must also be taken when research is being carried out that no part of the habitat is damaged during surveys.