What are bryophytes

The kingdom of plants exists a fairly extensive classification that depends on the characteristics of the same. This classification follows a pattern of complexity in the development of the plant that has had in function of the evolution of the species. Today we are going to talk about the first classification of simpler plants without vascular tissues known as bryophytes. Within the bryophytes are the mosses.

In this article we are going to tell all the characteristics and properties of bryophytes.

Classification in botany

We are going to give a slight review first to the classification of plants in botany to place the bryophytes. The first we have are plants that do not have vascular tissue. These are bryophytes and it is composed mostly of mosses. The following are those vascular plants known to have tissues called xylem and phloem. Within these vascular plants they are divided into those that do not have flowers or seeds that are called ferns and all those that have flowers and seeds that are spermatophytes.

If we continue with the classification we can see that those that have the naked ovules and the seed has a primary endosperm are known as gymnosperms. Within gymnosperms we have cycads and conifers. On the other hand, if the ovules are enclosed in one or more carpels, they are called angiosperms. Within the angiosperms are the well-known monocots and dicots.

Main characteristics of bryophytes

Once we have reviewed the classification, we can now focus on the main characteristics of bryophytes. These plants do not have vascular vessels so they are very simple plants. When we speak of vascular vessels, we do not refer to those conduits through which the plant is capable of transporting water and minerals that serve as food for the plant. This group of plants is the most important group of non-vascular plants that exists.

Since they do not have these vascular vessels, they cannot reach a large size. Therefore, all bryophyte plants are small in size. It is true that they can spread over large areas but never at altitude. These are multicellular plants that have chlorophyll so they can photosynthesize.

All bryophytes have green stems as well as their leaves. The leaves can vary in shades ranging from the brightest green to the darkest green. However, we can also observe different bryophytes that can even become transparent.

As for the environment in which bryophytes grow, we can say that they need a preferably humid area. This environment is ideal for the plant to grow and reproduce optimally. It is not common for it to develop in low humidity soils, but it can be the case. By not presenting roots as such, the way to obtain water, the minerals do it as if it were a sponge. That is, you need a large amount of water in your environment to be able to incorporate water into your body. We generally find these plants on a rocky surface, in the bark of trees, on the roots of other plants and in very humid soils.

Structure and reproduction of bryophytes

The vegetative structure of these plants is quite simple. They are plants that have been on our planet for a long time. The structure is quite homogeneous since it does not have different parts such as the root, the stem and the leaves, as it happens with the rest of plants. As they do not have vascular vessels, they do not have difficulty when it comes to studying if we compare it with the more developed plants.

Regarding reproduction, they can reproduce in two ways: asexual and sexual:

  • Sexual reproduction: this type of reproduction is in which the plant originates the male gametes that will be responsible for fertilizing the female gamete. The union of both gametes is the one that gives rise to the sporophyte and the one that will germinate in the new plant.
  • Asexual reproduction: this is another type of reproduction from which any part of the plant has the ability to originate a new individual. This is what is done a lot in gardening with cuttings. In this case, the others that we can find in this type of plants can give rise to a plant identical to the parent if it comes into contact with a surface where it can develop in good conditions. That is, that it has enough moisture and grip to be able to adapt to the new environment.

Types of bryophytes

These small and simple plants can be classified into 3 large groups: mosses, liverworts, and anthoceropsids. We are going to write the three large groups to understand it better.


Mosses usually form dense mantles in which each plant has a tiny structure. This small plant has similar functions to those of the roots. Thanks to the presence of these plants, they can hold on well to the ground and have a similar appearance to hairs.

One of the environmental advantages that bryophytes have is that they help prevent erosion of the soil that is found. As we have mentioned before, these mosses can survive in rocky environments that are normally exposed to erosion due to lack of vegetation cover. These plants indicate environmental quality in that place where they can live. This is because they need a certain quality of water to be able to develop. Therefore, if we see moss in an area we know that the water will have a good quality to maintain enough humidity and that the plant can develop correctly.


Liverworts are named for the similarity they have to the human liver. They also need shady areas with high humidity. These plants are spread all over the land creating tiny mantles of tiny plants.


These are very small plants with a very simple structure. These plants do not even exceed 3 centimeters in height.

As you can see, there are very simple plants that are not used for decoration or used in gardening. It is true that if we have rockery in our garden, the moss can indicate the good quality of maintenance of our garden. I hope that with this information you can learn more about bryophytes.

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