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Mosses plants, facts about moss

Mosses plants are leafy plants that grow in moist, shady places. Together with liverworts, mosses make up a division of simple plants that botanists call Bryophta. There are roughly 15,000 kinds of mosses in the world. They have no economic value, but are of interest to biologists because the first land plants were probably of this type. In addition, mosses are valuable as soil builders, since they are among the first plants to colonize new land.

Mosses plants - moss Funaria Mosses plants - spores

Mosses plants, facts about moss

The moss Funaria is common on burned ground. Male and female organs occur at the tips of separate branches. After fertilization the spore-capsules develop

The spores develop inside the capsule, and when ripe are discharged through the opening

Mosses plants reproduce by means of spores. The spores are carried in a capsule borne on a long stalk which arises from the crown of a moss stem. The capsule commonly has a little lid, which falls off when the spores are ripe, and a ring (or two rings) of tiny teeth attached to the rim and pointing inwards. The teeth open or close according to the amount of moisture in the air. In dry air, the teeth are open and the spores are shaken out by the wind.

Mosses plants - water-sensitive teeth - facts about moss

Mosses plants, facts about moss

A series of water-sensitive teeth control the opening of the capsule, so that spores are shed only in dry weather

A moss spore germinates into a highly branched, green, threadlike body called a protonema. The protonema gives rise to several new moss plants in a small clump. When the moss plants are mature, the tips of the stems and branches develop sex organs. In wet weather the male cells are released, and swim to the female cells and fertilize them.

The fertilized female cell develops a long stalk bearing a spore capsule at its top.

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