Mosses – Division Bryophyta

Life cycle

Mat-forming, mostly perennial spore-producing plants.

General description

Low-growing plants with very small foliage that form dense clumps in shady, moist places. Clumps rang from dime-sized to several feet across. Some upright growth is possible, but plants usually reach only 0.25 to 1 inch in height. Plants have rootlike rhizoids, which are not true roots but have similar functions. New plants form by vegetative reproduction and by spores released from capsules at the ends of leafless stalks. No true flowers or fruit are produced.


Densely and spirally arranged leaves are very small, 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and awl-shaped. They lack petioles.


Slender, hairlike and highly branching.


Vegetatively and by spores.

Moss foliage
Moss foliage
Moss foliage close up
Moss foliage close-up
More capsules
More capsules
Moss capsules
Moss capsules

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