Mosses are small flowerless plants that typically grow in dense green clumps or mats, often in damp or shady locations. The individual plants are usually composed of simple, one-cell thick leaves, attached to a stem that may be branched or unbranched and has only a limited role in conducting water and nutrients. Although some species have vascular tissue this is generally poorly developed and structurally different from similar tissue found in other plants. They do not have seeds and after fertilisation develop sporophytes (unbranched stalks topped with single capsules containing spores). They are typically 0.2–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger, like Dawsonia, the tallest moss in the world, which can grow to 50 cm in height.
Mosses are in the phylum (division) Bryophyta, which formerly also included hornworts and liverworts. These other two groups of bryophytes are now placed in their own divisions. There are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in the Bryophyta. The main commercial significance of mosses is as the main constituent of peat (mostly the genus Sphagnum), although they are also used for decorative purposes, such as in gardens and in the florist trade. Traditional uses of mosses included as insulation and for the ability to absorb liquids up to 20 times their weight.
This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.