In this voluminous work a detailed treatment of 168 species of epiphyllous liverworts occurring in China is presented. Papers dealing with this group of plants worldwide are mentioned followed by a short history of bryological studies in China.
The characteristics of epiphyllous liverworts and their adaptations to the phyllosphere are briefly explained and partially illustrated. Zhu and So recognize that ,,epiphyllous liverworts are certainly not a natural group", and discuss the interpretation of this category of plants by different authors. They accept three types of epiphyllous liverworts: ,,obligate", ,,facultative, common" and ,,occasional". The relationship between these liverworts and hosts' leaves is analyzed, and it was observed that they prefer evergreen, thick, hard and smooth leaves in Chinese subtropical forests. With respect to phytogeography, nine distribution patterns are recognized. The largest group of epiphyllous taxa belong to the East Asian type, with species found principally in China, Japan and Korea. In China, the provinces with the highest species number of epiphyllous liverworts are Yunnan, Hainan and Taiwan; and they are highly frequent in the cloud-zone forests between 800-1500 m. The conservation of epiphyllous liverworts depends greatly on strict protection of corresponding forests. Seventeen taxa are recommended as candidates for protection. In China, the main threats towards epiphyllous liverworts are deforestation, ill-planned public construction works, and inappropriate conservation practices.
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