Bryophytes: Classification



Liverworts are usually found in moist habitats such as river banks, marshes, wet tree barks, damp soil etc.

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Liverworts have a thalloid structure. The thallus is flat and dorso-ventral. The upper side consists of leaf like structures and the lower side bears numerous rhizoids.


Asexual reproduction:

  • Takes place by fragmentation of the thallus, or by the formation of specialized structures called gemmae.
  • Gemmae are asexual buds are borne on small receptacles called gemma cups found on the thalli.
  • These buds detach from the parent and germinate into new individuals.

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Sexual reproduction:

  • Gametophyte is the dominant generation.
  • Thallus bears male and female sex organs – antheridium and archegonium.
  • It produces the gametes which fuse to form a zygote.
  • Zygote develops into a sporophyte.

  • Sporophyte is short lived.
  • It is differentiated into a foot, setae and capsule.
  • Capsule bears spores which germinate into gametophyte.



Mosses are found in wet and damp habitats. They are widely present in urban environments such as walls, driveways, and other man – made structures. e.g.- Funaria, Polytrichum, Sphagnum.


Mosses have two phases in the life cycle. The gametophyte plant has leaf like and stem like structures. The gametophyte consists of a raised stalk called seta, which terminates in a sporangium.

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Gametophyte: The gametophyte is the predominant generation. It consists of two phases – Protonema stage and the Leafy stage.

Protonema: The spore first germinates to the protonema stage. It is highly filamentous and branched. It is a green creeping form. Vegetative reproduction (by fragmentation or budding) takes place during this stage.

Leafy stage: It is the second stage. It develops from a lateral bud which arises on the protonema. The body is composed of a slender axis bearing spirally arranged leaves and numerous rhizoids. This stage bears the sex organs (antheridia and archegonia) at the apex of the leafy shoots. It produces the gametes.

Sporophyte: Gametes fuse to form the zygote which develops into a sporophyte. It is composed of a foot, setae and a capsule. The capsule contains spores, which germinates into the gametophyte.


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