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Difference Between Riccia and Marchantia

Introduction to Riccia and Marchantia

Last updated date: 16th Mar 2023
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Riccia and Marchantia belong to the family that lies under the phylum Bryophyta. The species under the phylum Bryophyta are known as bryophytes. They are small and non-vascular and are found in moist habitats. Plants from this phylum do not reproduce sexually through flowers and seeds; rather, they reproduce through asexual means like spores. They follow the gametophyte stage and are dominant in their life cycle. Some of the common examples are mosses and liverworts.

We will discuss everything about Riccia and Marchantia in this article, along with some FAQs. This topic is full of facts and should be memorised and revised frequently. This topic is also a very important part of the chapter ‘Plant Kingdom.’ Understanding this topic would also help understand the other parts of this chapter.


Riccia is a genus of liverworts that belongs to the family Marchantia and the order Marchantiale. Plants of this genus do not consist of vascular bundles and are commonly found in moist places or habitats. The plant body is not differentiated into roots, stems, and leaves. The plants have a rosette-like structure. The Riccia plant consists of both male and female reproductive parts in the same plant. They show both sexual and asexual modes of reproduction. They reproduce asexually through spores and fragmentation.

The Riccia Life Cycle alternates between gametophytic and sporophytic generations. As the gametophytic generation dominates, it comprises the main plant body. The Riccia sporophyte comprises the formation of the zygote from fused gametes.

Riccia diagram

Riccia Diagram


Marchantia is also a genus of liverworts that belongs to the family Marchantia and order Marchantiale. They are known to consist of gemma cups, which help the plant in asexual reproduction. These plants are also known to consist of a barrel-shaped pore on the top surface of their leaves. They are found in moist and shady areas, and reproduction in Marchantia is both sexually and asexually.

The Marchantia Life Cycle is haplodiplontic. Here, the gametophyte is the dominant phase, and the Marchantia sporophyte phase is dependent on the gametophyte phase for nourishment.

Marchantia diagram

Marchantia Diagram

Similarities Between Riccia and Marchantia

The similarities are as follows:

  • Riccia and Marchantia both belong to the kingdom Plantae and both are bryophytes.

  • They are a genus of liverworts.

  • They are non-vascular plants; they do not consist of vascular bundles.

  • They both belong to the family Marchantia and the order Marchantiale.

  • They both have a haplodiplontic life cycle, with the gametophyte phase as the dominant phase.

  • They reproduce both sexually and asexually.

  • They have a prostrate and dichotomously branched thallus.

  • Their plant bodies are not differentiated into stems, roots, and leaves.

  • In both plants, fertilisation of the gametes gives rise to a zygote which forms the sporophyte stage of the plant.

Difference Between Riccia and Marchantia



It is a genus of the Ricciaceae, characterised by a dichotomously branched thallus.

Marchantia is a genus consisting of gemma cups and barrel pores.

These are monoecious plants.

These are dioecious plants.

The thallus has a rosette-like shape.

The Marchantia thallus does appear like a rosette.

They don't have gemma cups for asexual reproduction.

They have gemma cups for asexual reproduction.

They do not have barrel-shaped pores present on their leaves.

The structure of Marchantia pores is barrel-shaped, present on the upper surface of their leaves.

The sex organ of Riccia is homothallic.

The sex organ of Marchantia is heterothallic.

Antheridia develops individually.

Antheridia develops in groups.

Archegonia develop on the upper surface of Riccia.

Archegonia develop inside the thallus in Marchantia.

The embryo is 4-celled.

The embryo is 8-celled.

Sporogonium is differentiated into feet, setae, and capsules.

Sporogonium is differentiated into feet and capsules.


Riccia and Marchantia both are a genus of liverworts. They share many similarities but are studied widely due to their differences. Their main difference lies in the structure of their thallus. They both have a haplodiplontic life cycle with gametophyte as the dominant phase, nourishing the sporophyte phase.

This article mentions the major difference and similarities between Riccia and Marchantia. This is an important topic for Class 11. The students should also go through the chapter ‘Plant Kingdom’ to understand the concepts clearly. However, this article is sufficient for understanding the given topic.

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FAQs on Difference Between Riccia and Marchantia

1. Mention the important characteristics of Bryophytes.

Bryophytes are plants that reproduce through spores rather than flowers or seeds. The majority of bryophytes are found in moist environments and are made up of three types of non-vascular land plants: mosses, hornworts, and liverworts. They are non-vascular plants, meaning they lack roots and vascular tissue and instead absorb water and nutrients from the air through their surface (e.g., their leaves). In their life cycle, they have a dominant gametophyte stage. Bryophytes are distinct from many other plant species in that they remain in this stage for extended periods of time.

2. Mention differences between Funaria and Marchantia.

The major difference between Funaria and Marchantia is as follows.

  • The spores of Marchantia tend to develop into adult gametophytes, but in Funaria, the spores develop into juvenile gametophytes.

  • The main plant body of Funaria is diploid, whereas the plant body of Marchantia is haploid.

  • In Funaria, the plant body is divided into the foot, seta, and capsule, whereas in Marchantia, the plant body is not distinguished into the foot, seta, and capsule.

  • Funia is a genus of mosses, whereas Marchantia is a genus of liverworts.

3. Mention the role of gemma cups?

The gemma cups are cup-like structures seen in the Marchantia genus. It is the main source of asexual reproduction in Marchantia. The asexual mode of reproduction through gemma cups is known as fragmentation. These gemma cups contain gemmae, which are small discs of tissue. This tissue can give rise to new gametophytes directly.  When this gemma cup has fully developed, it separates from the parent to become an individual. These gemma cups develop on the gametophyte body of the plant. The sporophyte of Marchantia depends on gametophytes for nourishment.

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