I found this stuff growing between and on the tiles in a moist, not too light corner of my garden. It looks funny, like a very small tropical island with palm trees :P

I transplanted some of it in my mini-bog with carnivorous plants, where it seems to settle really nicely, but now I do start to wonder what it is, and I can't find much like it.

It's very small. It's mostly green, almost looking like a succulent plant. In the picture you can see some specs or pores, but these are so small, I didn't notice them before I took the picture. On the leaves are small 'cups'.

It grows stalks of about 3 cm which look remotely like palm trees, but up close they look like a roof of 'fingers' with some fluffyness underneath.

If I pull it out, it's quite stuck to the bottom, with thin hairy roots. It looks like they are just thousands of hairs which grow straight from the whole ground facing side of the plant (?) straight into the bottom, which suggests to me that it may use this strategy to attach itself to rocks or (rotting) wood.

In the picture you can see it. On the left you see parts of the leaves of Drosera Capensis Alba and Drosera Binata, to give an impression of the size. The 'log' in the front has a diameter of about 2cm. ;) The whole area on the picture is maybe 15cm wide.

I tried to google for various properties of it, but all I found is cup lichen, but it hardly seems related to that.

The stuff Overview: Tropical Island Resort for bugs

Crop of the leaves (?) Crop of what seems to be the leaves

Crop of the flowers Crop of the 'flowers'


  • Netherlands, hardiness zone 8
  • Backyard (tiles), peat
  • The item in the picture is in a sunny spot most of the day (as far as the climate goes)
  • 1
    Oooh, you've got sundews in your garden, I always wanted to try that.
    – Kingsley
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 5:50

2 Answers 2


It's one of the Liverworts, or Marchantiacheae, which are flowerless, spore producing plants. The one in your picture is likely Marchantia polymorpha. They thrive in shady, damp, humid and nutrient rich conditions and can be quite difficult to control in gardens. The little 'palm' trees are part of the reproductive process and are female gametophytes - see the diagram of the plant below.

Life cycle of a Marchantia-like liverwort

More extensive information here on Wikipedia.

  • Humid it is, but not really shady. Nevertheless, not a doubt you are right, given the information those links present. I've not yet experienced it as a big problem, but maybe it's because I got other stuff that's even harder to control. ;-) Anyway, thanks!
    – GolezTrol
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 21:43

Definitely Liverwort, which is a group of non-vascular plants similar to moss. The leaves are gametophytes, some are male and some are female. The little tree like parts are sporophytes that grow out of their mother female gametophytes. They reproduce by the sporophytes releasing spores (sexual reproduction) and by growing small clones called gemae in those little cups on the leaves (asexual reproduction).

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