Mosses [Moss, Real, Bryophytes, Bryophyta] - structure, reproduction, nutrition, habitat, forms, classes, kingdom, wiki - Wiki-Med

Mosses (Bryophyta), or Mossy, or Real mosses or Bryophytes Are small herbaceous plants found everywhere. The body of most mosses is formed by stems and leaves; many have rhizoids. Mosses reproduce asexually and sexually.

Mosses are small greenish-whitish or greenish-brown plants that grow in separate islands or cover the soil with a continuous carpet (Fig. 76).

Currently, about 25 thousand species of mosses are known, which are widespread on all continents.

There are especially many of them in tropical rainforests. But there are also many in other natural zones of the Northern Hemisphere, where mosses predominate in the vegetation cover.

In our zone, mosses grow almost everywhere. In any forests (deciduous, coniferous, mixed), in swamps, meadows, trees, stones (Fig. 77). Even on the roofs and walls of houses. Some mosses live in water.

Mosses are small (from a few millimeters to several centimeters), mainly perennial herbaceous plants. The body of most mosses consists of stems covered with small leaves. Therefore, they are called leafy. In nature, there are mosses that are not differentiated into stem and leaves (liver mosses).

On the lower part of the stem, many mosses develop filamentous outgrowths - rhizoids. Each rhizoid is an elongated cell or several cells. Rhizoids attach to the ground. With the help of rhizoids, mosses absorb water and minerals from the soil. The absence of true roots limits the flow of water from the soil. In this regard, mosses also absorb water over the entire surface of the body. Therefore, they can live almost anywhere - only the air would be sufficiently humid.

Mosses reproduce sexually and asexually (by the formation of spores) in ways. You can consider the reproduction of mosses using the example of green moss - cuckoo flax.

Moss classes:

  • Andreaeobryopsida
  • Andrew's mosses
  • Leafy mosses
  • Oedipodiopsida
  • Polytrichous mosses
  • Sphagnum mosses
  • Takaki mosses
  • Tetraphis mosses

The value of mosses in nature

Mosses are unpretentious plants that can settle on any substrate - stones, rocks, exposed rubble and sandy areas of the earth that are not suitable for other plants to live. Here they act as pioneers. Mosses actively destroy the rock, penetrating with rhizoids into microscopically small depressions and cracks on the surface. Dead moss residues gradually create a substrate enriched with organic substances, suitable for colonization by other plants.

The role of mosses in the forest is great. They are pioneers of overgrowing of all kinds of sites, primarily those on which felling occurred, as well as conflagrations, fireplaces, trails.

Mosses are an essential component of natural ecosystems. Like any photosynthetic organisms, they assimilate inorganic substances and create organic ones. Mosses are food for many invertebrates (larvae of beetles, flies, butterfly caterpillars, as well as some mollusks, ticks, etc.).

Solid or almost solid moss cover shades the soil, reduces daily fluctuations in temperature, humidity, illumination in the surface layer of the air. This improves the conditions for the preservation and germination of seeds of woody and herbaceous plants, favors the development and growth of young seedlings. However, too high and dense moss can impede the normal regeneration of the forest. The seeds of forest plants hang on the surface of the moss cover and, before reaching the soil, die.

In addition, if the moss cover of the forest is formed only by sphagnum mosses, this negatively affects the state of the forest, since, by accumulating water, sphagnum contributes to waterlogging.

The importance of mosses in bogs is also great, especially those formed by sphagnum.

Use of mosses

Sphagnum mosses have three beneficial properties: high hygroscopicity (the ability to absorb water from the environment), high bactericidal action (the ability to kill bacteria due to secreted substances) and high air permeability. Due to these properties, sphagnum mosses are used in different areas. Back in the 19th century. sphagnum mosses were used to make dressing bags. In modern medicine, this material is undeservedly forgotten, but during the Great Patriotic War it was the first dressing device. Being highly hygroscopic, this material easily absorbs blood and other liquids. Currently, some pharmaceutical companies are resuming the production of sphagnum-gauze materials. These mosses are also recommended for stuffing children's mattresses, making diapers. Material from the site

Sphagnum mosses are used in folk medicine to treat cuts, frostbite and burns. Not everyone knows that when a splint is applied for fractures, it cannot be applied directly to the skin. The use of sphagnum-gauze bags helps to disinfect the wound and soften friction and possible shock during transportation of the victim. Sphagnum mosses are also good at absorbing moisture and odors, so they can help get rid of unpleasant odors and increased sweating of the feet.

Mosses, primarily sphagnum, are used as an environmentally friendly insulation. During the construction of log cabins, sphagnum is laid between the logs. The bactericidal properties of moss prevent the logs from rotting. As a natural insulation, moss is used in beekeeping. Placed under the hive, it absorbs excess moisture, disinfects the air, which prevents disease in the bee colony.

Sphagnum mosses are used for storing fruits and seeds, as bactericidal substances protect them from decay. The moistened moss is used for packing and transporting cuttings and seedlings of woody plants.

Sphagnum mosses consist of a stem and leaves; rhizoids are absent. Stems and leaves contain aquifer cells that absorb and retain large amounts of water. Thanks to this, mosses regulate the water balance of the ecosystems in which they grow. Sphagnum mosses form peat widely used by humans.

On this page material on topics:
  • mosses do not have arboreal forms why

  • wikipedia about mosses

  • representatives of bryophytes examples

  • mosses briefly structure

  • distribution of mosses in the nature of Belarus

Questions for this article:
  • What plants are called spore plants?

  • What conditions are necessary for sexual reproduction of mosses?

  • How can you explain the fact that mosses do not have arboreal forms?

  • What plants are called spore plants and why?

  • How do spore plants reproduce?

  • What is the significance of spore plants in nature?

  • What is peat, how is it formed and where is it used?

Department of bryophytes - these are higher spore plants, the species diversity of which reaches 20 thousand. The study of mosses has been going on for many centuries, the scientists who study them were nicknamed bryologists, they founded a separate botanical branch dedicated to bryophytes - bryology. Bryology - the science of mosses, studies the structure, reproduction and development of bryophytes (actually mosses, liverworts, anthocerotes).

General characteristics of mosses

Moss - general characteristics
Moss - general characteristics

Mossy - one of the oldest plants that inhabit our planet. Remains have been found in fossils from the late Paleozoic era. The distribution of mosses is associated with a preference for a humid environment and shaded areas, so most inhabit the northern part of the Earth. They take root poorly in saline areas and deserts.

Classes of bryophytes

Leafy mosses Is the most numerous class. Plants are composed of stem, leaves and rhizoids.

Stem can grow vertically or horizontally, divided into bark and main tissue (contains water, starch, chloroplasts for photosynthesis).

Stem cells can give rise to filamentous processes - rhizoids are necessary for anchorage to soil and water absorption. They are more often found at the base of the stem, but can cover it along its entire length.

Leaves simple, often attached to the stem at right angles, in a spiral. The leaf blades are equipped with chloroplasts; a vein is located in the center (serves for carrying nutrients).

Deciduous mosses can multiply by stems, buds, branches that give rise to, thus forming solid carpets of mosses, covering the ground. The class of leafy plants includes sphagnum (they have a varied color of the stem - light green, yellow, red), andreev and brie mosses.

Sphagnum moss
Sphagnum moss

Liverworts found on coasts, swamps, rocky terrain. Distinctive features: leaves have no vein, dorsoventral structure, a special mechanism of sporophyte opening.

The leaves are arranged in rows, have two lobes (the lower lobe is often curled up and serves as a reservoir for water), the rhizoid processes are unicellular. During the rash of spores, the sporophyte capsule opens into separate valves, and elaters (spring formations) contribute to the dispersal of cells.

Reproduction can be carried out using buds (vegetatively), which are formed at the upper pole of the leaves. Representatives of the class Pellia endievifolia, Miliya anomalous, Moss Marshantia, etc.


Anthocerot mosses inhabit the tropical zone. The multinucleated body (thallus) has a rosette shape, consists of cells of the same type. In the upper balls of the cells are chromatophores (contain a dark green pigment). The lower part of the thallus gives rise to processes, rhizoids, the body itself forms cavities filled with a viscous fluid that maintains constant moisture.

On the surface of the thallus, under unfavorable conditions, tubers are formed that are resistant to low humidity, and after a period of drought they form a new generation. Plants are monoecious, reproductive organs develop in the thallus, the sporophyte stage is predominant. The anthoceros include folioceros, anthoceros, notothilas, etc.


How do mosses breed?

There is an alternation of asexual and sexual reproduction in the life cycle of mosses. The asexual period begins with the formation of spores and their germination on moist soil (a pre-growth is formed, a thin thread that gives life to males and females). There are two types of mosses:

Monoecious - male and female reproductive organs are on the same plant.

Dioecious - reproductive organs are found in different sexes.

After spore germination, the life cycle of the moss enters the sexual phase. The organs of sexual reproduction are antheridia (male) and archegonia (female). Representatives of males are weaker than females, smaller in size, after the formation of antheridia they die off.

Moss breeding process
Moss breeding process

Spermatozoa are formed on male plants, eggs on female plants, after their fusion a zygote is formed (located on a female, it feeds an immature sporophyte), which later develops into sporangia. After the sporangium ripens, it opens, spores pour out of it - the asexual reproduction period of mosses begins again.

Reproduction of offspring is possible in a vegetative way, mosses form thalli (green branches), buds, tubers, which take root well on moist soil.

What is the significance of the dispute in the life of mosses?

Spores are cells that mosses need to reproduce. Moss plants do not bloom, do not have roots, therefore, for the continuation of the genus, they have formed a sporophyte with sporangia (the place of maturation of spores).

The sporophyte has a short life cycle, after drying, the spores scatter around, and when it gets on wet soil, they quickly take root. They can survive for a long time under unfavorable conditions, without germination, resistant to low and high temperatures, prolonged droughts.

The value of mosses in nature and human life

Mosses are food for many invertebrates.

After dying off, they give deposits of peat, which is necessary in the production of plastics, resins, carbolic acid, and is used as fuel or fertilizer.

Moss completely covers the ground in places of growth, which leads to the accumulation of moisture and waterlogging of the territory. Thus, the germination of other vegetation becomes impossible. At the same time, they prevent erosion, soil destruction by surface waters and winds. When the mosses die off, they take part in the formation of the soil.

They are able to grow in places of fires, persistent and hardy, they inhabit the territory of the tundra (the main vegetation background, since other plants cannot survive in such conditions).

In wartime, sphagnum moss was used as a dressing material because of its bactericidal properties and ability to absorb moisture.

With the help of mosses, you can navigate the terrain: they do not like light, therefore they are located on the shady side of stones and trees. Moss points the man to the north.

In construction, they are used as an insulating, insulating material.

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