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10.2. Bryophytes: Mosses

Division Bryophytes: Mosses

 he Division Bryophytes are non - vascular land plants. They were the first plants to colonize the terrestrial environment and include the simplest plants: hornworts, liverworts and mosses.
These plants are thallophytes, that is, they do not have well-developed tissues or organs. They have no root, no stem, no leaves, no flowers, and no fruit. They are very small green plants, formed by a small thallus that is attached to the ground by small hairs (rhizoids) and numerous false little leaves (phyllodes).
Bryophytes are still linked to water and need moist areas to live, such as the bark of trees or some damp and shady walls. Water is necessary for fertilization.
They are non-vascular plants because they do not have conducting vessels. That is why they have to take water directly from the environment, by diffusion, through their thallus and their false leaves, and they have to live on a surface that is always moist.
Bryophytes are very important when it comes to creating a soil since, together with lichens  they are the first colonizers of the terrestrial environment. Later, other larger plants will be installed.

Musgo en una pared húmedaMusgo sobre un muro en Épila (Zaragoza)

Bryophytes do not have flowers. Its reproduction is alternating, where an alternation of generations occurs:

  • Gametophyte. It is the most common moss or liverwort form, which produces gametes. 
  • Sporophyte. It grows on the gametophyte and is formed by a filament ending in a capsule in which spores are produced which, when they mature and disperse, will give rise to a new gametophyte.