A short review of the history of the hepaticological exploration of Antarctica is given in the present paper. An annotated check list of all taxa of hepatics reported from within the Antarctic botanical zone, based on literature data and unpublished records, is included. Altogether 22 species of liverworts, excluding two taxa known only at generic level, representing 18 genera and 13 families, are known to occur in the Antarctic. All species of hepatics, except for Cephaloziella varians which is also known from Greater Antarctica, occur exclusively in the maritime Antarctic region. In the livewort flora of Antarctica, the southern temperate and subantarctic elements are predominant (72.7%) and the bipolar element is remarkably scarce, albeit the bipolar taxa belong to the most widespread and frequent of the impoverished Antarctic hepatic flora. Distribution patterns of all known Antarctic liverworts are briefly discussed and several floristic elements and subelements are recognized.
This paper reports on eleven species of hepatics collected on King George Island, South Shetland Islands (6Г50'—62°15'S latitude and 57°30'—59 00'W longitude). A short account of the vegetation of this Antarctic island is provided and the role of liverworts in particular plant communities is discussed. Two species, Hygrolembidium ventrosum (Mitt.) Grolle and Scapania abcordata (Berggr.) S. Arnell are reported for the first time from the Antarctic botanical zone; the latter is recorded for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere and, additionally, this is the first record of the genus Scapania from Antarctica. A detailed description of the habitat of each taxon is given and distribution maps for the eleven species are provided. A key to the eleven species from King George Island is given, and a detailed taxonomic discussion is included for Cephaloziella varians (Gott.) Steph and Lophozia excisa (Dicks.) Dumort. The former is considered to be synonymous with the widespread Arctic species C. arctica Bryhn & Douin ex K. Müll.