Bryophyta: Definition, Characteristics, Classification, Role & Benefits

sinaumedia Literacy – In general, moss plants can grow easily in wet and humid places. Moss plants are autotrophic because they have cells with plastids that produce chlorophyll. The body of the moss is covered by a waxy cuticle which can reduce excessive evaporation on its body, thus allowing it to adapt in an environment that is not too wet. Moss plants are classified as spore-forming cormophytes, because these plants produce spores as a breeding tool. Check out a more complete explanation of the following bryophytes, Sinaumed’s!


Mosses have plastid cells that can produce chlorophyll A and B, so they can make their own food and are autotrophic. Mosses belong to the kingdom plantae, which includes all organisms that are multicellular and differentiated, eukaryotic, with cellulose cell walls. Organisms belonging to these plantae are almost entirely autotrophic (can make their own food) with the help of sunlight during the photosynthesis process. There are several structures in mosses, including:

  • Columera, is a network that cannot be involved in the formation of spores.
  • Setae (stem)
  • The apophysis is widened at the tip and can be equipped with a spore box at the transition.
  • The vaginula is a root covered with remnants of the archegonium wall.
  • Caliptra (cap) which can originate from an upper archegonium wall to become the hood of the spore box.


Moss plants undergo alternation of generations (metagenesis). In this process of metagenesis, mosses experience two phases of life, namely the gametophyte (haploid) phase and the sporophyte (diploid) phase. Mosses live in colonies. Not vascular because it has no true leaves, stems, or roots. Its habitat is in places that are damp and protected from sunlight such as forest floors, tree trunks, walls, and wells. There are also those that live in wet places and are able to live in water like spaghnum. Moss plants have several characteristics, including the following:

  • The cells that make up the body have cell walls composed of cellulose. Multicellular. Does not have vessels like xylem and phloem.
  • Water enters the body of the moss by imbibition, while the results of photosynthesis are distributed by diffusion, capillary action, and by cytoplasmic flow.
  • The cell wall consists of cellulose.
  • Experiencing metagenesis
  • Is a transition between Thallophyta and Cormophyta
  • The outer surface of the body is covered with a waxy coating which is useful for holding back water ingress and reducing evaporation.
  • The root is a pseudo root (rhizoid) which consists of several layers of parenchyma cells and is shaped like hair/threads. The root also serves to attach the moss.
  • The zygote develops into an embryo and remains in the gametangium of the female. Sperm are produced by antheridia and ova by archegonia.

Stems and leaves have a different arrangement, namely:

  • Small in size and rarely reaches 15 cm
  • A layer of skin cells, some of which form epidermal rhizoids, rhizoids that look like threads that function as roots and absorb food from water and mineral salts
  • The inner skin layer is composed of the cortex, a central cylinder consisting of elongated supporting cells or parenchyma, not containing xylem and phloem
  • The central cylinder consists of parenchyma cells which are useful for transporting water and mineral salts.
  • Growth in moss is elongated
  • The gametangium arrangement (archegonium or antheridium) is typical, often found in ferns (pteridophyta), especially the archegonium. Archegonium is the female gamete which is shaped like a bottle and contains ovum cells, while the antheridium is the male gamete which is round in shape and contains spermatozoid cells.
  • The leaves are one layer of cells thick, except for the midrib, which is more than one layer. Leaf cells are small, contain chloroplasts arranged like a net and are narrow and elongated

In studying the stems and leaves of other plants as well as other aspects of plants, the book Plant Anatomy is the right choice because it discusses various aspects of plant composition in a clear and concise manner.

The sporophyte (sporogonium) consists of:

  • Seta or tank
  • Vaginula, ie feet covered with archegonium walls
  • The apophysis, that is, the dilated end of the seta or cistern, is the transition between the seta and the spore box
  • Kaliptra or hood, which originates from the upper archegonium wall and will become the spore box cap
  • Columella, tissue that does not take part in spore formation
  • The reproductive system is metagenic, namely reproduction alternates between sexual (gametophyte) and asexual (sporophyte). Sexual reproduction forms male and female gametes within the gametophyte, whereas asexual reproduction by haploid spores forms within the sporophyte.

In studying the characteristics, structure, and anatomy of plants. You can make the book Plant Anatomy by Sri Mulyani ES as a reference where it discusses the organs that make up plants, namely roots, stems, leaves and flowers.


The life cycle of a moss plant is metagenic, as it alternates between sexual and asexual reproduction. Initially the sporophyte produces spores which will become protonema, from this protonema the gametophyte is formed. This gametophyte generation has a single chromosome cell called haploid (n) and this gametophyte produces gametangium (reproductive organs) called antheridium in males and archegonium in females. Gametangia are protected by special leaves (bract).

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The antheredium is round and produces flagellated sperm (anterezoid and spermatozoid), while the archegonium is shaped like a bottle which has a wide part called the stomach and a narrow part called the neck. Fertilization of the egg by anterzoid produces a zygote with two chromosome cells or is called diploid (2n).

This zygote is the beginning of the sporophyte again. Then the zygote divides into an adult sporophyte which already has legs to attach to the gametophyte, seta, and capsule at the ends. This capsule is where spores are produced through the phases of meiosis. After the spores are ripe and removed from the capsule, then the moss life cycle repeats again from the beginning.


Moss plants (bryophyta) are divided into three classes, namely mosses (bryophyta), liverworts (hepaticophyta), and hornworts (anthocerotophyta).

LEAF MOSS (Bryopsida)

Moss is a type of plant that is often found in humid areas. In general, one individual moss produces a different type of gamete so that it can be distinguished which is the male individual, which is the female individual.

However, there are also mosses that produce male gametes (anteridium) and female gametes (archegonium) in one individual. In the sporophyte phase, moss plants will produce spores as a means of reproduction. If the moss spores reach a suitable environment, they will grow into protonema. This protonema eventually grows into a new moss plant. Examples of moss plant species are Polytrichum juniperinum, Pogonatum cirratum, and Aerobryopsis longissima.

Bryophyta has a total of approximately 10,000 species of mosses which are divided into three orders, namely Bryales, Sphagnales, and Andreales. Mosses are easier to identify because they are often found in slightly open places. Mosses can grow on barren soils that periodically experience drought, on moving sand, among grasses, on rocks, tree trunks, in swamps, and a little in water.

Most of these mosses grow in swamps which form clumps or pads which from year to year appear to be expanding, while the lower part that is in the dead water turns into peat which forms peat soil. This type of soil is useful for loosening the medium in potted plants and can be used as fuel. Because the habitat is very wide, the body also has a variety of structures. The following are the characteristics of moss leaves:

  • The gametophyte thallus cannot be distinguished between leaf and stem structures
  • The gametophyte talus has radial symmetry
  • Archegonium and antheridia form at the tips of the gametophytes between the leaves, and then grow sporangia
  • The sporophyte thallus is a sporangium that rests on the stem end of the gametophyte thallus
  • Gametophytes grow upright or creep
  • Develops from protonema
  • It has multicellular leaves, stems and rhizoids
  • The leaves consist of only one layer of cells with a central rib, arranged in a circle or spiral
  • The archegonium is attached to the top of the capsule and forms the calypra
  • The lower capsule has stomata and is photosynthetic
  • No elaters were found, the capsule had a columella, broken with peristome teeth
  • During capsule development, the stalks (seta) slowly increase in length.


Liverworts or Hepaticopsida have a body shape like a sheet with many indentations and resembles the shape of a heart. Because of its shape, liverworts were once thought to help treat liver disease. Liverworts have a body with root, stem and leaf structures, so they are often considered a transitional group from Thallophyta to Cormophyta plants. Moss Liver habitat is on moist mineral soil on mountain slopes or on hills. This moss can also grow on a dense forest floor.

Liverworts are not ideal for growing on peat soils which are acidic and have few nutrients. There are exceptions to the genus Plagiochila sp which can be found growing in peat swamp forests. Examples of liverworts Riccardia chamaedryfolia Pellia endivifolia Scapania nemorosa Jungermannia sp. Haplomitrium sp. Marchantia polymorpha Monoclea forsterii Sphaerocarpos texanus. The following are the characteristics of Sinaumed’s’ liverworts:

  • The gametophyte thallus cannot be distinguished between leaf and stem structures, while the roots are rhizoids
  • The gametophyte talus is dorsiventrally flattened
  • On the dorsal surface of the gametophyte are formed archegonium and antheridia which are shaped like an umbrella
  • The sporophyte talus is very small, so it is almost invisible.

HORN MOSS (Anthoceropsida)

Hornworts or Anthoceropsida have long, pointed sporophytes that can grow up to 5 cm in height. The hornwort sporophyte consists only of sporangia and has no setae. Mature spores are released by the sporangium which breaks or opens, starting from the tip of the horn. Gametophytes, which generally have a diameter of 1-2 cm grow horizontally and are sometimes attached by multiple sporophytes.

Hornworts are often the first species to colonize an open, moist area. Hornwort (Anthoceropsida) habitat is on hills or on mountain slopes on moist mineral soils. Hornwort is not good at growing in areas that are acidic and have few nutrients, for example peat soil. Many hornworts live on the shores of lakes, ditches, and rivers. Features of Hornwort:

  • The roots are still rhizoids, the gametophyte thallus cannot be distinguished between leaf and stem structures
  • The gametophyte talus is dorsiventrally flattened
  • Creation of gametangia (antheridia and archegonia) on the dorsal surface of the gametophyte talus
  • The sporophyte talus resembles the shape of a slender (small) horn or needle, and its growth occurs due to the division of the ground cells in the leg region.
  • The body structure of the hornwort is in the form of a thallus, but the sporophyte is in the form of an elongated capsule. Hornworts have cells that only consist of one chloroplast.
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In distinguishing the life cycle of mosses, the cells and tissues in them are one of the factors. In studying tissue in plants, the Textbook of Plant Tissue Culture can be used as a reference by Sinaumed’s.


Several species of moss plants have an important role in human life, including:

  • Prevent soil erosion: Soil erosion can also be prevented by the presence of moss. The good water-absorbing properties of moss help the soil to maintain its density and not easily erode.
  • Reducing the danger of flooding: Moss also plays a role in preventing floods, because rainwater that falls is well absorbed by moss plants.
  • Increase water sources: The benefits of moss plants are also felt when the dry season comes. This season, which has the potential to become a drought, poses a threat to the lack of water availability for humans. Moss helps to overcome this, because moss speeds up the process of absorbing water during droughts so that it is able to maintain the availability of groundwater or well water.
  • Supplying oxygen: Moss is also part of the plant that has a green substance. Like other plants, mosses also carry out photosynthesis. One of the results of photosynthesis is to produce the benefits of oxygen for humans.
  • As an ingredient for making skin medicine, this was the first time this was done in China, where in ancient times Chinese people used moss to make traditional concoctions to treat skin diseases.
  • Materials for making eye medicines; Moss has good properties that can be used as an antibacterial. This property is used by the medical world to treat several eye diseases.
  • As a cure for hepatitis: Not only for the eyes, diseases that attack the liver such as hepatitis can also be treated with drugs made from the type of moss marchantia polymorpha.
  • As an antiseptic drug: Moss is also used as an antiseptic substance that helps kill germs. Antiseptic substances are often found in the manufacture of health soaps and also mouthwash mouthwash. To make an antiseptic substance, you need a moss of the frullania tamaricis type.
  • Medicine for heart disease: Cratoneuron moss can be processed into a drug that can normalize heart rate.
  • Pneumonia medicine: Moss does play an important role in the medical world. Not only eyes, skin, liver, to the heart. Moss is also useful in making medicine for pneumonia.
  • Treating burns and external injuries: Have had burns or external injuries from falling or being scratched by a sharp object. For the Chinese people, when they experienced something similar, they used moss to overcome it. Now the medical world is making it more sterile, the antiseptic properties of the canocphalum type moss are used to treat burns and external wounds.
  • Anesthesia is needed in the medical world, especially for surgery. The anesthetic used by medical professionals is also made from moss with the type of rhodobryum giganteum.
  • Medication for Hypertension: This type of liverwort is not only used as an anesthetic, it is also used as a medicine for high blood pressure. The sedative properties of moss can be used as a medicine to control blood pressure.
  • Overcome snake venom: Moss can also remove snake venom. The moss used is marchantia polymorpha.

In studying the benefits of other plants, as well as the structure and function of the tissues in them, the book Structure & Function of Tissues in Plants is here to explain the ins and outs of plants in depth.

Thus the Definition, Characteristics, Life Cycle, Classification and Benefits of Moss Plants (Bryophytes) in Everyday Life. Hopefully useful Sinaumed’s!

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