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Anthoceros agrestis 060910c.jpg
Anthoceros agrestis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Anthocerotophyta
Class: Anthocerotopsida
Order: Anthocerotales
Family: Anthocerotaceae
Genus: Anthoceros

See text

Anthoceros is a genus of hornworts in the family Anthocerotaceae. The genus is global in its distribution. Its name means 'flower horn', and refers to the characteristic horn-shaped sporophytes that all hornworts produce.


Species of Anthoceros are characterized by having a small to medium-sized, green thallus that is more or less lobed along the margins.[1] The spores are dark gray, dark brown or black, this is the easiest way to distinguish Anthoceros from the related genus Phaeoceros, which produces spores that are yellow.[1][2]

The sporophytes of Anthoceros are larger and much more complex than those of Riccia, Marchantia, and Pellia. It is differentiated into a foot, a constriction like intermediate zone and a capsule. There is no seta. It arises in clusters from the dorsal surface of the thallus each surrounded at the base a tubular involucre.

Anthoceros species are host to species of Nostoc, a symbiotic relationship in which Nostoc provides nitrogen to its host through cells known as heterocysts, and which are able to carry out photosynthesis.[3] The Nostoc colonies are present on the lower ventral surface and are visible as blue-green patches which open outwards by slime pores.

This hornwort grows in moist clay soils on hills, in ditches, and in damp hollows among rocks. The adult plant body is a gametophyte.


Species include:[4]


  1. ^ a b Peng, Tao; Zhu, Rui-Liang (2013). "A revision of the genus Anthoceros (Anthocerotaceae, Anthocerotophyta) in China". Phytotaxa. 100 (1): 21–35. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.100.1.3. ISSN 1179-3163.
  2. ^ Proskauer, Johannes (1951). "Studies on Athocerotales. III". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 78 (4): 331–349. doi:10.2307/2481996. JSTOR 2481996.
  3. ^ Enderlin, C. S. and J. C. Meeks. (1983). Pure culture and reconstitution of the Anthoceros-Nostoc symbiotic association. Planta 158(2) 157-65.
  4. ^ Ibarra-Morales, A., M. E. Muñíz, and S. Valencia. (2015). The genus Anthoceros (Anthocerotaceae, Anthocerotophyta) in Central Mexico. Phytotaxa [S.l.], v. 205, n. 4, p. 215–28.

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