Poikilohydry?

Dec 29, 2018

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Fellow Extension agent Chase Smoak and I like to learn new botanical words (he already knows a lot more than me). But I had a good one for him the other day. Poikilohydry is the process that occurs in lichens, mosses and liverworts which absorb moisture from their surroundings. When they dry out, they stop photosynthesizing, but when they rehydrate, start using sunlight to make carbohydrates again. Moses and liverworts are actually plants, but primitive ones without a vascular system to transport water. Lichens are placed in the Kingdom Fungi but they’re actually two organisms, a fungus and an alga, working together. They, too, must absorb water from the atmosphere. Sometimes you’ll see them all listed as examples of poikilohyric plants, but we have to remind ourselves that lichen aren’t plants. Taxonomy has gotten mighty complicated since I was young and living creatures were either plants or animals.