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Moss: one of the best known bryophytes species

What are

A generic term that applies to a group of more than 20,000 small plant species that usually grow on soil, tree trunks and wet rock.

Main characteristics of bryophytes

Bryophytes are non-vascular plants (without conductive vessels) that include mosses, liverworts and antoceros. At their level of organization, the bryophytes are located between green algae (of which their offspring are very likely) and among the simpler lower vascular plants such as lycopods. Unlike the higher plants, the gametophyte (the sexual form) is the dominant generation. The sporophyte (asexual form) develops over the gametophyte and remains almost completely dependent on it. In bryophytes there are no true conduction tissues, as there are in ferns and higher plants.

Some species of bryophytes are aquatic and others are able to survive in hot and dry regions. Although its size varies from microscopic to 30 cm, the average bryophyte measures approximately 1.2 to 5 cm, varying in color, which can be green, black and even almost colorless.

The liverworts are the most primitive bryophytes and have a flat shape, sometimes their thickness is only one cell.


Mosses have a central shape that resembles a stem, from which small leaves come off and extends into some structures called rhizomes. However, despite having these structures, bryophytes absorb water directly from the base on which they grow, or from the air itself.

Reproduction of bryophytes

All bryophyte species are characterized by alternation of generations. Embryos of the mature or small asexual form remain dependent and attached to it. The asexual form produces spurs, similar to those of lower plants, which are disseminated through the wind and other means that provide new sexual forms. The sexual organs of bryophytes are multicellular.


Regarding their scientific classification, the bryophytes are divided into three groups: Hepatopsida or Marchantiopsida (hepatic), Bryopsida (moss) and Anthocerotopsida (antocerota).