Easily mistaken for :
Conocephalum salebrosum and was in the recent past until in 2005 it was realised that there are two different species. [A third species,
Conocephalum supradecompositum, if it exists, may not grow in the UK]. The differences between C. conicum and C. salebrosum are that conicum is somewhat larger, and is shiny rather than matte when dry (it is impossible to differentiate when wet), the borders between air pores are less conspicuous, and that the surface is smooth (rather than undulating where the 'valleys' between the pores are). C. salebrosum prefers slightly drier conditions than C. conicum. The British Bryological Society (BBS) list the differences on this page of their website.
The above specimens are believed by the Author to be those of C. conicum.
Both species are dioecious, with male and female organs being on separate plants.
This is a very common liverwort found almost throughout the UK, but tending to avoid the highest mountain areas of Scotland and Eire.
Habitat is moist or wet places that are in the shade most of the time, and on neutral or slightly basic substrates. Rocks and by rivers, waterfalls and streams, or damp banks or walls and on rocky ledges, boulders and in gullies.
ODOUR COMPOUNDS in SCENTED LIVERWORT
There exist three chemo-types of Conocephalum conicum, types 1, 2 and 3, which respectively emit Sabinene,
Bornyl Acetate and
Methyl Cinnamate as their major components, giving each type a differing characteristic odour when crushed. It is possible that each corresponds with the recent splitting into three differing species, C. conicum, C. salebrosum and C. supradecompositum but this is not made explicit in the literature. The odour is variously described as being camphoraceous, strongly mushroom and lactone-like, although which smell corresponds to which chemical is similarly vague.
Sabinene is a bicyclic monoterpene consisting of a five-membered ring fused to a 3-membered ring and which is present in several plants such as
Tea Tree, and contributes to the spiciness of
Black Pepper and
Nutmeg. It is a major consistent of
Carrot seed oil. It is used as a flavour and a perfume and has a woody pine-like fragrance with a spicy nuance.
Methyl Cinnamate is an ester of
Cinnamic Acid and has a strong sweet fruity aromatic odour a little like that of
Strawberry in which it also occurs, or
Cinnamon. It is used in the perfume industry as a perfume and as a flavour, which is fruity again like
Strawberry. Methyl Cinnamate also occurs in the
Strawberry Gum Eucalyptus treem, in some varieties of
Basil and in Sichuan Pepper.
It acts as a pheromone to male orchid bees.
Bornyl Acetate is another ester and has a pine-like camphoraceous odour. It is used in both perfumes and as a flavour.