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Some Mosses and Liverworts to Know in the Field

Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) are the only land plants (embryophytes) whose life history includes a dominant gametophyte (haploid) stage.  The form of the gametophyte is varied, yet vegetative features common to many bryophyte gametophytes include:  gemmae   and   rhizoids
Reproductive features common among bryophyte gametophytes include:  antheridia and archegonia.

Vegetative Features Common to Many Bryophytes

Gemmae in Bryophytes
are a means of asexual reproduction found in many bryophytes.   Gemmae are 1 to many celled, specially produced clonal plant fragments.  Some specific examples of gemmae are illustrated in the table below.   The form of the gemmae is often very useful when identifying certain bryophytes.  Gemmae are variously dispersed (e.g. by wind, water) and are capable of growing into new plants.

Click thumbnail images to enlarge

Single-celled gemmae arising from leaf margin of Nowellia curvifolia (grown in liquid culture)
Single-celled gemmae arising from leaf margin of Lophozia capitata - a leafy liverwort gemmae.jpg (78915 bytes)  
Gemmae from leaf margins of the leafy liverwort Scapania scaundgcm1.jpg (86286 bytes) scnem01cm.jpg (14810 bytes)
Discoid, multicellular gemmae along leaf margins of Radula australis - a leafy  liverwort  radaus01.jpg (55248 bytes) radausgmcm1.jpg (58085 bytes) radausgmcm2.jpg (29954 bytes)
Polygonal gemmae from leaf margin of the leafy liverwort Lophozia bicrenata lopbicgm2.jpg (38069 bytes)
Gemmae of the moss Syrrhopodon texanus syrrgemc.jpg (50869 bytes)  
Miniature leaf-like gemmae clustered at shoot tips of the moss Tortula pagorum torpagcm.jpg (111431 bytes)  
Propagule arising from leaf surface in the liverwort Plagiochila plavircm.jpg (94296 bytes)  
The moss, Tetraphis pellucida, with gemmae cups tetpelcm.jpg (38387 bytes)
Gemmae cups in the liverwort Marchantia MarchPolygemcups.jpg (59984 bytes)

Rhizoids anchor the gametophyte to the substrate.  Rhizoids can be important taxonomic characters.  Their presence/absence, color, and papillosity are sometimes used in making identifications.

Rhizoids in Bryophytes

Purple rhizoids of Fossombronia foveolata fossmrxd.jpg (58372 bytes) click image to enlarge
Rhizoids restricted to underleaf base  in a liverwort rhizoidUlbasechipol10CM.jpg (48672 bytes) click image to enlarge
Unbranched rhizoids of a liverwort conorzd1.jpg (57779 bytes) click image to enlarge
Pegged and smooth rhizoids in the Marchantiales rhizpegm.jpg (68191 bytes) click image to enlarge
Branched rhizoids of a moss mossrzdm.jpg (61957 bytes) click image to enlarge
Red tubers on the rhizoids of Bryum click image to enlarge


Bryidae protonemata mossprotcm1.jpg (57631 bytes) click image to enlarge



Antheridia and Associated Structures

lopcapancm.jpg (32315 bytes) androeciumhepcm.jpg (45000 bytes)  poranth.jpg (66560 bytes)


Archegonia and Associated Structures

archegonjunevacm.jpg (71769 bytes) porarch.jpg (68349 bytes)

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