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Spore Dispersal

Liverworts have a characteristic method of spore dispersal. Inside the sporophyte capsule, spores are attached to specialized cells known as elaters. The elater is tubular in shape and has one or more cell wall thickenings which are helically oriented along the long axis of the cell. These helical thickenings are hydroscopic, in that they readily absorb water.

As the liverwort capsule dries, it opens up. Then the helical cell wall thickenings of the elater dry out and the elater changes its shape. As this happens, the elater releases the bound spores which are then dispersed by wind.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Linear expansivity to Macrocosm and microcosmLiverwort - General Characteristics, Life Cycle, Spore Dispersal, Evolution - Asexual reproduction