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Introduction to Bryophytes

Introduction to Bryophytes

Bryophytes are small, herbaceous plants that grow closely packed together in mats or cushions on rocks, soil, or as epiphytes on the trunks and leaves of forest trees.
The term Bryophyta is used by botanists to describe the mosses and liverworts and is derived from a Greek word meaning moss.
Bryophytes are divided into several groups including :
Hornworts
Thalloid Liverworts
Leafy Liverworts
Mosses
The mosses are subdivided into three further groups:
Granite Mosses
True Mosses
Peat Mosses

 

Capsules of Brachythecium rutabulum

Capsules of Brachythecium rutabulum

A true moss, Tortula muralis

A true moss, Tortula muralis

 

Mosses

The mosses are plants that possess both stems and leaves. The leaves, which frequently have a nerve or midrib, are usually arranged spirally round the stems of the plant

Mosses do not have roots like those of higher plants but instead have root-like threads or rhizoids that attach the plant to the substratum.

There are about 14,000 species of moss worldwide

Liverworts

The thalloid liverworts possess a plant body that is like a flattened frond, an example of which is shown here.

The plant body of leafy liverworts consist of stems and leaves but, unlike the mosses, the leaves lack a midrib or nerve

About 3,500 species of thallose liverworts have been identifed word wide and about 5,000 species of leafy liverworts.

 A thalloid liverwort

A thalloid liverwort


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This project was funded by the RIAS Millennium Awards Scheme