Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
| Common name:
|| Liverworts belong to a group of plants known as the Bryophytes which are usually green, usually small, and are amongst the simplest of land-dwelling plants (a few are aquatic). The name ‘liverwort’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘lifer’, meaning liver and ‘wyrt’, the word for plant. During the 16th century, it was commonly applied to the genus Marchantia, a flat, branching, ribbon-shaped plant the margins of which were claimed to resemble the lobes of a liver.
| Botanical name:
|| The bryophyte comprise the mosses, liverworts and hornworts. There are about 25,000 different species of bryophytes
|| Hepaticea (liverworts)
|| Liverworts have been found in fossils dating as far back as the Palaeozoic Era. They are believed to have shared a common ancestry with the green algae. There are approximately 8,500 species of liverworts. They are widely distributed, occurring from the arctic to the tropics. Although some grow in relatively dry places and a few are submerged aquatics, most liverworts occur in places where moisture is generally available, e.g., on damp soil or moist rotting logs, along shaded stream banks, on rocks in streams, or on wet rock outcroppings; a few even grow under saline conditions.
|| Liverworts lack some of the complex structures seen in other types of plant — they do not produce flowers or seeds, and most have no internal means for transporting water or nutrients. There are two broad types of liverwort, separated on the basis of their general structure: leafy liverworts, and the thallose liverworts. The thallose gametophytes are flat, membranous forms with even, slightly wavy, lobed or leafy margins. There is a great diversity in the shape of liverwort leaves; they may be undivided, variously lobed or divided into hair-like segments, or they may be folded into two lobes of unequal size with the smaller lobe situated atop or below the larger.
|| Ecologically, bryophytes play a major role in maintaining an ecosystem's humidity level by their ability to absorb and retain water. Environmentally, they are often used as indicators of the habitat condition. Any change in water, soil and/or air quality, due to pollution or other factors, will have an impact on bryophyte growth.
|| Only liverworts with leaves, or Jungermaniales, appear to be sensitising. Liverworts grow on the bark of trees such as chestnuts, acacias, poplars, beech, and oak-trees. Contact is therefore most commonly seen in forestry workers and gardeners. The main allergic liverwort species are Frullania dilatata and Frullania tamarisci which are known to contain a number of sesquiterpene lactones.
|| Forestry workers may develop allergic contact dermatitis or airborne contact dermatitis, and photosensitivity. Occasional reports of vasculitis.
| Cross reactions:
|| Laurel, other compositae plants. There are a number of reports of cross-sensitivity with Lichens spp, but these may represent simultaneous sensitisation as lichens and liverworts co-exist in the same environments.
| Other information:
|| Since the Doctrine of Signatures, a popular concept at the time, proclaimed that God had bestowed upon each plant He had created a mark or sign that pointed to its medicinal value; the liverwort Marchantia with its imagined liver-shaped lobes was believed to be useful for the treatment of liver ailments.
| Patch test:
|| Sesquiterpene lactone mix, compositae mix, specific species of liverworts.
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- Wellman CH, Osterloff PL, Mohiuddin U. Fragments of the earliest land plants. Nature. 2003 Sep 18;425(6955):248-9.
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- Schmidt RJ. Allergic contact dermatitis to liverworts, lichens, and mosses. Semin Dermatol. 1996 Jun;15(2):95-102.
- Quirino AP, Barros MA. Occupational contact dermatitis from lichens and Frullania. Contact Dermatitis. 1995 Jul;33(1):68-9.
- Quirce S, Tabar AI, Muro MD, Olaguibel JM. Airborne contact dermatitis from Frullania. Contact Dermatitis. 1994 Feb;30(2):73-6.
- Tomb RR. Patch testing with frullania during a 10-year period: hazards and complications. Contact Dermatitis. 1992 Apr;26(4):220-3.
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- Mitchell JC. Compositae and Frullania phytodermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol Suppl (Stockh). 1987;134:69-76.
- Benezra C, Ducombs G. Molecular aspects of allergic contact dermatitis to plants. Recent progress in phytodermatochemistry. Derm Beruf Umwelt. 1987 Jan-Feb;35(1):4-11.
- Goncalo S. Contact sensitivity to lichens and compositae in Frullania dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis. 1987 Feb;16(2):84-6.
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- Benezra C, Stampf JL, Barbier P, Ducombs G. Enantiospecificity in allergic contact dermatitis. A review and new results in Frullania-sensitive patients. Contact Dermatitis. 1985 Aug;13(2):110-4.
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- Hausen BM, Osmundsen PE. Contact allergy to parthenolide in Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schulz-Bip. (feverfew, Asteraceae) and cross-reactions to related sesquiterpene lactone containing Compositae species. Acta Derm Venereol. 1983;63(4):308-14.
- Faure M, Dambuyant C, Chabeau G, Souteyrand P, Thivolet J. Immune complex vasculitis and contact dermatitis to Frullania. Contact Dermatitis. 1981 Nov;7(6):320-5.
- Mitchell JC. Industrial aspects of 112 cases of allergic contact dermatitis from Frullania in British Columbia during a 10-year period. Contact Dermatitis. 1981 Sep;7(5):268-9.
- Stampf JL, Schlewer G, Ducombs G, Foussereau J, Benezra C. Allergic contact dermatitis due to sesquiterpene lactones. A comparative study of human and animal sensitivity to alpha-methylene-gamma-butyrolactone and derivatives. Br J Dermatol. 1978 Aug;99(2):163-9.
- Hausen BM, Schulz KH. [Polyvalent contact allergy in a florist]. Derm Beruf Umwelt. 1978;26(5):175-6.
- Larregue M, Rat JP, Gallet P, Bressieux JM, Pousset JL. [Contact dermatitis caused by dandelion, laurel oil and frullania by cross-allergy]. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 1978 May;105(5):547-8.
- Schlewer G, Stampf JL, Benezra C. Synthesis of and allergic contact dermatitis to bicyclo-[2,2,1]-heptyl-alpha-methylene-gamma-butyrolactones derived from norbornene and camphene. Can J Biochem. 1978 Mar;56(3):153-7.
- Fernandez de Corres L, Corrales Torres J. Dermatitis from Frullania, Compositae and other plants. Contact Dermatitis. 1978 Jun;4(3):175-6.
- Storrs FJ, Mitchell JC, Rasmussen JE. Contact hypersensitivity to liverwort and the compositae family of plants. Cutis. 1976 Nov;18(5):681-6.
- Fernandez de Corres L, Corrales Torres JL. [Contact dermatitis by Frullania dilatata (L) Dum]. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 1976 Jul-Aug;4(4):229-34.
- Krauskopf J, Adamkova D. [3 cases of simultaneous contact hypersensitivity to wild chamomite (Matricaria chamomilla) and Frullania tamarisci]. Cesk Dermatol. 1975 Oct;50(5):299-302.
- Foussereau J, Muller JC, Benezra C. Contact allergy to Frullania and Laurus Nobilis: cross-sensitization and chemical structure of the allergens. Contact Dermatitis. 1975 Aug;1(4):223-30.
- Mitchell JC, Chan-Yeung M. Contact allergy from Frullania and respiratory allergy from Thuja. Can Med Assoc J. 1974 Mar 16;110(6):653-4 passim.
- Asakawa Y, Benezra C, Ducombs G, Foussereau J, Muller JC, Ourisson G. Editorial: Cross-sensitization between Frullania and Laurus nobilis: The allergen laurel. Arch Dermatol. 1974 Dec;110(6):957.
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- Mitchell JC, Dupuis G, Geissman TA. Allergic contact dermatitis from sesquiterpenoids of plants. Additional allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and immunological specificity of compositae, liverworts and lichens. Br J Dermatol. 1972 Sep;87(3):235-40.
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- Mitchell JC, Fritig B, Singh B, Towers GH. Allergic contact dermatitis from Frullania and Compositae. The role of sesquiterpene lactones. J Invest Dermatol. 1970 Mar;54(3):233-9.
- Knoche H, Ourisson G, Perold GW, Foussereau J, Maleville J. Allergenic component of a liverwort: a sesquiterpene lactone. Science. 1969 Oct 10;166(902):239-40.
- Mitchell JC, Schofield WB, Singh B, Towers GH. Allergy to Frullania. Allergic contact dermatitis occurring in forest workers caused by exposure to Frullania nisquallensis. Arch Dermatol. 1969 Jul;100(1):46-9.
- Bancons F, Maleville J. [Loggers' dermitis: role of Frullania]. Arch Mal Prof. 1967 Mar;28(3):407-10.
- Le Coulant, Texier, Maleville, Geniaux, Tamisier, Bancons. [Allergy to Frullania: its role in "oak wood dermatitis"]. Bull Soc Fr Dermatol Syphiligr. 1966 Jul-Aug;73(4):440-3.
- de Graciansky P, Taieb M. [Sensitization and desensitization to "Frullania"]. Bull Soc Fr Dermatol Syphiligr. 1966 Jan-Feb;73(1):55-6.
- Le Coulant P, Lopes G. [Pathogenic role of the liverwort mosses in the wood industries]. Arch Mal Prof. 1960 Jun;21:374-6.
- Lovell CR.1993, Plants and the Skin, Blackwell, Oxford.
- Mitchell JC, Rook A, 1979, Botanical Dermatology, Plants and Plant products injurious to the skin, Greengrass, Vancouver.
- Botanical Dermatology Database. http://www.botanical-dermatology-database.info/
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