AskDefine | Define bryophyte

Dictionary Definition

bryophyte n : any of numerous plants of the division Bryophyta [syn: nonvascular plant]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A member of the Bryophyta (in the broadest sense). Any plant in which the gametophyte (haploid) stage of the lifecycle is the larger, persistent stage, and the sporophyte (diploid) stage is small and dependent upon the gametophyte. Bryophytes include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.


  • Estonian: sammal, sammaltaim
  • Finnish: sammalkasvi, sammal
  • French: bryophyte
  • German: Moos
  • Portuguese: briófita
  • Spanish: briofita

See also

Extensive Definition

Bryophytes are all embryophytes ('land plants') that are non-vascular: they have tissues and enclosed reproductive systems, but they lack vascular tissue that circulates liquids. They neither have flowers nor produce seeds, reproducing via spores. The term bryophyte comes from Greek βρύον - bruon, "tree-moss, oyster-green" < βρύω - bruo, "to be full to bursting, to abound" + φυτόν - fyton "plant".

Bryophyte classification

The bryophytes do not form a monophyletic group but consist of three groups, the Marchantiophyta (liverworts), Anthocerotophyta (hornworts), and Bryophyta (mosses).
Modern studies of the land plants generally show one of two patterns. In one of these patterns, the liverworts were the first to diverge, followed by the hornworts, while the mosses are the closest living relatives of the polysporangiates (which include the vascular plants). In the other pattern, the hornworts were the first to diverge, followed by the vascular plants, while the mosses are the closest living relatives of the liverworts. Originally the three groups were brought together as the three classes of division Bryophyta. However, since the three groups of bryophytes form a paraphyletic group, they now are placed in three separate divisions.

Bryophyte sexuality

These plants are generally gametophyte-oriented; that is, the normal plant is the haploid gametophyte, with the only diploid structure being the sporangium in season. As a result, bryophyte sexuality is very different from that of other plants. There are two basic categories of sexuality in bryophytes:
Some bryophyte species may be either monoicous or dioicous depending on environmental conditions. Other species grow exclusively with one type of sexuality.
Notice that these terms are not the same as monoecious and dioecious, which refer to whether or not a sporophyte plant bears one or both kinds of gametophyte. Those terms apply only to seed plants.


See also


  • Chopra, R. N. & Kumra, P. K. (1988). Biology of Bryophytes. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-470-21359-0.
  • Crum, Howard (2001). Structural Diversity of Bryophytes. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Herbarium. ISBN 0-9620733-4-2.
  • Goffinet, Bernard. (2000). Origin and phylogenetic relationships of bryophytes. In A. Jonathan Shaw & Bernard Goffinet (Eds.), Bryophyte Biology, pp. 124-149. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-66097-1.
  • Oostendorp, Cora (1987). The Bryophytes of the Palaeozoic and the Mesozoic. Bryophytorum Bibliotheca, Band 34. Berlin & Stuttgart: J. Cramer. ISBN 3-443-62006-X.
  • Prihar, N. S. (1961). An Introduction to Embryophyta: Volume I, Bryophyta (4th ed.). Allahabad: Central Book Depot.
  • Raven, Peter H., Evert, Ray F., & Eichhorn, Susan E. (2005). Biology of Plants (7th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-1007-2.
  • Schofield, W. B. (1985). Introduction to Bryology. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-949660-8.
  • Watson, E. V. (1971). The Structure and Life of Bryophytes (3rd ed.). London: Hutchinson University Library. ISBN 0-09-109301-5.

External links

  • Glime, Janice M., 2007. Bryophyte Ecology, Volume 1. Physiological Ecology. Ebook sponsored by Michigan Technological University and the International Association of Bryologists.
bryophyte in Czech: Mechorosty
bryophyte in German: Moose
bryophyte in Estonian: Sammaltaimed
bryophyte in Spanish: Briofita
bryophyte in Esperanto: Briofito
bryophyte in French: Bryophyte
bryophyte in Irish: Bryophyta
bryophyte in Italian: Bryophyta
bryophyte in Latvian: Pirmsvasas augi
bryophyte in Luxembourgish: Moosplanzen
bryophyte in Lithuanian: Samanūnai
bryophyte in Japanese: センタイ類
bryophyte in Norwegian Nynorsk: Mose
bryophyte in Norwegian: Moser
bryophyte in Polish: Mszaki
bryophyte in Portuguese: Bryophyta
bryophyte in Simple English: Bryophyte
bryophyte in Finnish: Sammalet
bryophyte in Swedish: Mossor
bryophyte in Ukrainian: Мохоподібні
bryophyte in Chinese: 苔藓植物
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