Measuring the Amount of Water Absorbed by Bryophytes
17 April, 2023

Measuring the Amount of Water Absorbed by Bryophytes



Gardens and forests are among the most beloved places due to the freshness and beauty bestowed by nature, as illustrated in Figure 1, depicting the beauty of a garden. If asked to list the names of all known plants, it would include trees, flowers, vegetables, fruits, agricultural crops like wheat, rice, and corn. The discovered plant species range from approximately 260,000 to 300,000, with scientists believing there are still many undiscovered species, especially in rainforests. Plants are a primary source of human food and other consumables.

Article elements:

  1. Plant Characteristics:
  2. Plant Classification:
  3. Vascular Plants:
  4. Non-Vascular Plants:
  5. Non-Vascular Bryophytes:
  6. Bryophytes:
  7. Hepatic weeds:
  8. Bryophytes:
  9. Non-vascular plants and the environment:
  10. Vascular non-seed plants:
  11. Types of non-seed vascular plants:
  12. Clubmosses:
  13. Lycophytes:
  14. Horse-tail Plant:
  15. Importance of Vascular Non-Flowering Plants:

  16. Uses of Vascular Non-Flowering Plants:
  17. Conclusion:

Plant Characteristics:

Plants vary in size, ranging from microscopic plants like aquatic algae to giant trees such as the towering Sequoia redwood, which can exceed 100 meters in height. All plants have roots or root-like structures to anchor them in soil or rocks, and some may attach to other plants. Plants are gifted with adaptations to thrive in almost all Earth environments, from polar regions to hot deserts. All plants require water, and some can only survive submerged in salty or fresh water.

Plant Classification:

The plant kingdom is categorized into main groups called divisions, analogous to phyla in other kingdoms. Scientists classify plants into two main groups: vascular plants and nonvascular plants.

Vascular Plants:

These plants have tube-like structures that transport water, nutrients, and other substances within the plant.

Non-Vascular Plants:

These plants lack tube-like structures for water transport and use alternative methods for internal water and substance movement.

Non-Vascular Bryophytes:

If asked to mention plant parts, you would likely mention roots, leaves, and flowers. However, some plants, called non-vascular plants, do not grow from seeds and lack these mentioned parts. Figure 2 shows some of these plants. Non-vascular plants typically have a thickness of only a few cells, with lengths ranging from 2 to 5 cm. They have pseudo stems and pseudo leaves that are green. Instead of true roots, they have rhizoids that anchor the plant. Most non-vascular plants grow in moist areas and absorb water directly through the cell membrane and cell wall. These plants do not have flowers or cones for seed production; they reproduce through spores. Examples of non-vascular plants include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.


Most non-vascular plants are classified as bryophytes. They have pseudo leaves growing in an organized manner around pseudo stems, and their rhizoids consist of numerous cells. Sometimes, bryophytes have pseudo stems bearing cup-like structures containing reproductive cells called sporangia. Bryophytes are always found on tree trunks, rocks, or the ground. Despite growing in wet areas, some have adapted to survive in deserts.

Hepatic weeds:

In the ninth century, people believed that this plant was beneficial in treating liver diseases, hence its name. These plants are characterized by having no roots, with a flat body resembling leaves, as shown in Figure 2. They usually have root-like structures consisting of a single cell.


With a diameter of less than 2.5 cm, similar to liverweed, bryophytes have a flat body. Unlike other non-vascular plants, they have only one green plastid in each cell. They are named after the horn-like structures they produce, resembling cattle horns.

Non-vascular plants and the environment:

Hepatics and bryophytes are essential for the environment in many areas. While they require moist areas to grow and reproduce, many can withstand dry periods. They have the ability to grow in shallow, nutrient-poor soil where other plants cannot thrive. Spores of hepatics and bryophytes are dispersed by the wind and can grow into new plants under suitable conditions. They are pioneer species, among the first plants to grow in new or unstable environments, such as volcanic ash or burnt forest areas. When pioneer plants grow and die, organic material accumulates, contributing to the formation of new soil, allowing other organisms to establish in the area.

Why are pioneer plants important in unstable environments?

Vascular non-seed plants:

Lycophytes grow near some hepatics, sharing the characteristic of reproducing via spores rather than seeds. However, lycophytes differ in having vascular tissues. Vascular tissues in non-seed vascular plants, like lycophytes, consist of elongated tube-like cells that transport water, minerals, and nutrients within the plant. This vascular tissue allows them to grow taller and thicker compared to non-vascular plants because it distributes water and nutrients to all cells.

Types of non-seed vascular plants:

Non-seed vascular plants include clubmosses, ground pines, horsetails, and whisk ferns. There are around 1,000 species of ground pines and horsetails, while whisk ferns are more abundant, with at least 12,000 known species. Some non-seed vascular plants are known only through fossil records, thriving around 286-360 million years ago in warm and humid conditions.


The largest group of non-seed vascular plants, clubmosses exhibit diverse forms. They have stems, leaves, and roots. The leaves of clubmosses are called microphylls, and they reproduce through spores found in special structures on the lower surface of their leaves. Fossil evidence indicates that, around 360 million years ago, most of the land was in tropical regions, covered by extensive marshes with tall clubmoss trees.


Classified as ground pines and spike mosses, lycophytes belong to a group of plants known as the "club mosses." Although they are closer to club mosses than to horsetails, they have needle-shaped leaves. The spores are carried in cone-like structures at the ends of their stems. Ground pines inhabit polar to tropical regions, but they are rarely found in large numbers and are endangered in some areas due to their use in making wreaths and decorative items.

How are spores formed in ground pines?

In summary, this passage provides information about liverweeds, bryophytes, non-vascular plants, pioneer species, vascular non-seed plants, and various types of non-seed vascular plants, including clubmosses, lycophytes, and ground pines. It emphasizes the ecological importance of these plants in different environments and their role in soil formation and ecosystem development.

Horse-tail Plant:

The horse-tail plant is characterized by its unique stem structure among all vascular plants. It is hollow, surrounded by a ring of vascular tissue, and contains nodes where leaves grow around the stem. If you bend the stem of certain horse-tail plant species, it will break into segments. The spore structures in these plants, similar to wolf's foot ferns, resemble cone-shaped structures found at the top of the stem. The stem of the horse-tail plant contains silica, also found in sand, making these plants historically used for polishing, sharpening, and cleaning tools.

Importance of Vascular Non-Flowering Plants:

In ancient times, when many non-flowering plants died, they submerged in water and mud before decomposing. Over millions of years, with the accumulation of these plants and exposure to pressure and heat, they transformed into coal. Today, the same process occurs in swamps, especially in poorly drained areas, where non-flowering plants like horsetails and ferns are common. When these swamp plants die, waterlogged soil slows down their decomposition. Over time, the remains of these plants undergo intense pressure and transform into a substance called peat, which can eventually turn into coal with greater pressure and burial.

Uses of Vascular Non-Flowering Plants:

Many people use ferns for home decoration and plant them in shaded areas of home gardens. Peat is valuable for improving soil quality. Some types of ferns and horsetails are used in basket making. Although non-flowering plants are not typically consumed as food, certain parts can be eaten, such as pseudo-roots and small leaves. The dry stems of some horse-tail plants can be ground into flour. Non-flowering plants have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, such as using ferns to treat burns, bites, fever, and dandruff.


1. It is evident that plants play a fundamental role in life on Earth due to their vast diversity.

2. Plants adapt to various environments, whether dry deserts or humid rainforests, showcasing a wide range of characteristics from microscopic species to towering trees, serving as a primary source of food and biological resources.

3. Plants have environmental impact and contribute to improving ecological conditions. Pioneering plants, for example, play a crucial role in rehabilitating unstable environments, forming soil, and providing a habitat for other living organisms.

4. It is essential to care for plants and preserve their biodiversity. They play a vital role in improving air quality, providing food, and producing medicines. Understanding the importance of environmental conservation and ecological balance is crucial for the sustainability of life on Earth.

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