25 Common Bryophytes | Mosses -Liverworts -Hornworts


Bryophytes are a group of plants that include mosses, liverworts and hornworts. The are photosynthetic just like other higher plants, but lack true roots, stem and vascular system. Majority of bryophytes thrive in damp, shady moist environments, but can also be found in diverse and even extreme habitats, from rocky mountains, deserts to arctic regions.

1. Riccia is a genus of liverworts that are small thalloid plants, dichotomously branched and form rosettes. An apical notch is present on the terminal portion of thallus.

2. Riccia fluitans, the floating crystal wort is an aquatic floating bryophyte. This is the microscopic view of the thallus.

3. Marchantia polymorpha is one of the largest thallose liverworts, with dichotomous branching, prostrate or ascending flat thalli up to 2 cm broad, often growing in dense mats. This is the archegoniophore, female reproductive structure that produces egg. This is the gemmae cup containing gemmae inloved in asexual reproduction.

4. Plagiochasma belongs to liverworts. It is characterized by large, purplish green patches, thick,  dichotomously branched and occasionally with adventitious shoots.

5. Sphaerocarpos also called bottle liverwort, dioecious with male and female plant. Plats have a tiny, disc-like thallus which bears densely packed, balloon-like structures that surround the sex organs and spore bodies.

6. Lunularia is a liverwort,   dichotomously branched green thalli with crescent shaped gemma cups containing disc like gemmae. 

7. Conocephalum also called snake skin liverwort relatively large thallus with irregular branching. Plants grow by overlapping lobes, often creating large mats.

8. Targionia is a liverwort. Thallus is greenish, simple, and rarely dichotomous, fixed to the soil only at their base.

9. Porella, a common, widespread genus of liverworts. Leafy liverworts that form flat mats when young, becoming thick tufts with age that protrude from trees and rocks.

10. Metzgeria furcata, the Forked veilwort, is a genus of thalloid liverworts. The defining characteristic is the thalli and the deep midrib fork at the end, which is visible on most patches.

11. Frullania dilatata, Dilated Scalewort is a leafy liverwort. The thallus is often dark green to copper-brown or purplish in colour. It has leaves divided into two lobes, with a smaller lower lobe, sac-shaped structure attached to the base of the upper lobe by a narrow constriction that holds water. 

12. Anthoceros is a genus of hornworts, small or medium-sized green thallus with lobed margins. It is characterized by their horn-shaped sporophyte arising from the gametophytic thallus.

13. Notothylas also called as round hornwort, It is the smallest of all the hornworts, with a yellow-green irregularly gametophyte thallus often without a midrib.

14. Takakia, is the worlds oldest moss that adapted over millions of years to life at high altitudes. The green shoots which grow up from the turf are seldom taller than 1 cm, and bear an irregular arrangement of short, finger-like leaves. These leaves are deeply divided into two or more filaments, a characteristic not found in any other moss.

15. Funaria, Bonfire Moss or cord moss, This moss consists of an erect leafy stem (gametophyte) about 4-10 mm. tall.  The leaves are usually medium green, semi-transparent, and hairless. The sporophyte consists of foot, seta and capsule with spores.

16. Polytrichum is a genus of mosses commonly called haircap moss or hair moss. Polytrichium has an erect unbranched stem with small pointed ‘leaves’ emerging off the sides. Sporophyte with a long stalk often purple that ends in a spore producing capsule.

17. Tortula or Wall Screw-moss:  It grows in patches, tufts and neat cushions less than 1 cm tall with a tounge shaped leaf blade. Sporophytes are borne on a long seta and when mature, have a beautiful spirally-twisted peristome.

18. Sphagnum or bog Moss:  generally found growing in a thick, dense clump. It forms a cushiony "bog mat" that floats on top of the water.

19. Rhytidiadelphus commonly called as Springy turf-moss is a genus of moss. The shoots of this moss may be 10 to 15 cm long, long leaves bend back at a right angle to the base so that they spread out and away from the stem in all directions, giving shoots a star-like appearance. 

20. Calliergonella cuspidata or Pointed spear-moss. The most distinctive character is the shape of the shoot and branch tips: the leaves are closely rolled-up to form a smooth needle-like or spear-like point

21. Grimmia pulvinata or Grey-cushioned Grimmia. One of the most important diagnostic features for Grimmia pulvinata is the elliptical shape of its leaves. When this species has young capsules, with the setae turned down to push them back into the leaves, but Old capsules have straighter setae.

22. Homalothecium sericeum or  Silky Wall Feather-moss. this species grows on walls, trees and other basic substrates but not on the ground. When dry, the distinctive curled-up look of the crowded secondary branches shoots is an identifying feature.

23. Baxbaumia, bug-on-a-stick moss or bug moss. The gametophytic generation is microscopic and not persistent the only visible structure is a distinct sporophyte. The seta is 5-8 mm long with a slightly swollen base

24. Hypnum cupressiforme, Cypress-leaved plait-moss. often covers entire tree trunks or branches, growing in extensive mats. Its shoots lie flat to the tree and are a mid-green, sometimes tinged brownish and irregularly branched.

25. Pogonatum or spike moss Without capsules, plants can still be readily identified as Pogonatum by their short, fleshy-looking leaves. Mature capsules are needed to differentiate between species.

Learn more: Bryophytes QUiz 

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