Frullania is a large and taxonomically complex genus. A new liverwort species, Frullania knightbridgeisp. nov. from southern New Zealand, is described and illustrated. The new species, and its placement in Frullania subg. Microfrullania, is based on an integrated evidence-based approach derived from morphology, ecology, experimental growth studies of plasticity, as well as sequence data. Diagnostic characters associated with the leaf and lobule cell-wall anatomy, oil bodies, and spore ultra-structure distinguish it from all other New Zealand species of Frullania. A critical comparison is also made between Frullania knightbridgei and morphologically allied species of botanical regions outside the New Zealand region and an artificial key is provided. The new species is similar to some forms of the widespread Australasian species, Frullania rostrata, but has unique characters associated with the lobule and oil bodies. Frullania knightbridgei is remarkably interesting in comparison with the majority of Frullania species, and indeed liverworts in general, in that it is at least partially halotolerant. Maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses of nuclear ribosomal ITS2 and plastidic trnL-trnF sequences from purported related speciesconfirms its independent taxonomic status and corroborates its placement within Frullania subg. Microfrullania.
Keywords: DNA sequence data; Frullania; Frullania knightbridgei sp. nov.; Frullaniaceae; New Zealand Flora; halotolerant liverwort; morphology; subg. Microfrullania.