Lab 8 - Primitive Plants -Bryophytes,Ferns and Fern Allies


Overview to Bryophytes - Mosses, Liverworts,and Hornworts

As we pass from mosses to ferns, we view a gradual shift fromprimitiveto modern traits. Tright here are two major patterns you should emphasis on intoday"slab. The initially is a change in life cycles, the second is a changeinbasic inner framework.

You are watching: Why are mosses found in moist areas

First, all plants undergo an altercountry of generations,between a haploid gametophyte phase and a diploid sporophytephase. In the many primitive plants, like mosses, the gametophyte isdominant(i.e. it"s significant and also green). In better plants prefer ferns and fern allies,the sporophyte phase is dominant. Gametophytes produce gametes (spermandeggs) in a unique structure referred to as a gametangium (-ia), whilesporophytesdevelop spores in a special framework called a sporangium(-ia).

Second, all plants have to gain water to their cells.Primitivebryophyteslike mosses and liverworts are so little that they have the right to rely on diffusionto relocate water in and out of the plant. Mosses have actually a few strands ofwaterconducting tworry in their main stem, yet nopoint favor the big andwell organized network-related of tubes in tracheophytes, or "tubeplants".The vascular tconcerns in the even more advanced ferns and "fernallies"are consisted of of xylem and also phloem, which conduct water,nutrients,and also food throughout the plant body. We"ll look at these tproblems in alaterlab.

Bryophytes additionally require a moist setting to recreate. Theirflagellatedsperm have to swim through water to reach the egg. So mosses andliverwortsare limited to moist habitats. Tright here are no mosses in the desert.Butmosses are surprisingly resistant to drying up, and also deserve to make it through underveryharsh problems. Mosses are the the majority of numerous plants in both theArcticand also the Antarctic. Asex-related reproduction in bryophytes is accomplishedbyfragmentation or by tiny vegetative "sprouts" called gemmae,whichdevelop in special little structures called gemmae cups.

Mosses and liverworts are lumped together as bryophytes,plantsdoing not have true vascular tworries, and sharing a variety of other primitivetraits. They likewise lack true stems, roots, or leaves, though they havecellsthat percreate these general features. The leafy green plant that we seeas soon as we look at a moss or a liverwort is really the gametophyte,which is the dominant phase in all bryophytes. The sporophytesofbryophytes do not have a free-living existence. They grow directly outof the fertilized egg in the archegonia, and reprimary dependent on theparentgametophyte for their nutrition.

Characteristics of Divisions

Division Bryophyta - (9,500 sp.) - mosses, Mnium, Sphagnum

Mosses come in two standard forms, a cushiony form, with erect stalks,and a feathery kind, which creates flattened mats of low-lying and also highlybranched moss plants. In both cases, the leafy green gametophytes aredioeciousThey have the right to be male plants, through antheridia at the height of the plant, orfemaleplants, with archegonia at the peak. Remember that these gametophytesareconstantly haploid (1N) plants.

Sperm are produced within each antheridium, and also an egg ineacharchegonium.Because the plant is already haploid, these gametes can be created bymitosis,simple cell department. The sperm swims to the archegonia through a thinfilm of water, attracted by a chemical attractant produced by the femaleplant,then swims dvery own the neck of the archegonia to the egg. A great morningdewis more than sufficient water for the sperm to swim. Once the spermentersthe archegonia, it fuses with the egg. The 2N zygote develops right into adiploidsporophyte plant, a tiny stalk that grows directly out of the height ofthearchegonium. This stalk is initially green, and also photoman-made, butlatertransforms brown and also becomes basically a parawebsite on the femalegametophyte.

The sporophyte plant consists of a stalk, and also a little capsuleon the height. Within the capsule, cells undergo meiosis to producetetradsof haploid spores. When the capsule is ripe, its hinged lid oroperculumopens up, and the spores are easily distributed by wind and water. Thesporesgerminate right into a tiny green thread, which looks favor a straightforward strand also ofgreen algae. This similarity is one more clue that bryophytes aredescendedfrom green algae. This at an early stage threadprefer stage is referred to as the protonema(= first threview, plural = protonemata, choose stigma/stigmata). The newadultgametophytes grow from a tiny bud that establishes on the protonema.Eventuallythese gametophytes will flourish to produce gametes, and the entirety cyclewillstart over aobtain. Mosses deserve to additionally redevelop asexually by fragmentationor by prospering little bit vegetative buds referred to as gemma, which can break offand also prosper right into a brand-new plant .

While bryophytes in general are more amazing tha crucial, inthe usual feeling, a conspicuous exception are mosses of the genus Sphagnum.Sphagnummoss forms thick mats which become compressed right into peat, which can beusedas fuel, although it’s incredibly smoky. Peat also contains various other plants suchas actually reeds, that prosper amid the sphagnum. In dried develop, peat moss isremarkablyabsorbent and, and has actually been supplied for diapers, for enriching bad gardensoils, and as a area dressing for wounds. Whereas cotton absorbs 4-6timesits dry weight, dried sphagnum have the right to absorb 20 times its very own weight influids!Peat bogs are incredibly necessary and also amazing ecounits. Sphagnummosses greatly boost regional acidity by releasing H+ ions, and also the pHof peat bogs can drop to 4 or lower, possibly the the majority of acidic naturalatmosphere.Peat bogs cover about 1% of the Earth’s land also surconfront, a room abouthalfthe size of the United States.

Division Hepaticophyta - (9,000 sp.), liverworts, Marchantia,Conocephalum, Porella

Liverworts have actually the simplest bodies of all the green plants. Thegametophyte,the dominant stage, looks choose a flat scaly leaf, via prominent lobes.It looks for all the civilization choose a tiny flattened liver, thus thescientificname hepatico-phyta = liver plant. During the Middle Ages, thissimilaritycaused doctors to prescribe liverwort for diseases of the liver.Accordingto the Doctrine of Signatures the Creator had actually designed every one of nature,includingplants, via our welfare in mind. People thought that plants had beendeliberately designed to resemble the organs of the body they weresupposedto heal! Hence liver-wort, wyrt being the Anglo-Saxon word for herb.Theshape of the liverwort was the signature of the Creator in nature. Canyou guess what walnuts were meant to cure ? (diseases of thebrain)

Liverworts share the basic properties of bryophytes, however are notveryvery closely concerned mosses or hornworts. Many botanists think they mayhaveprogressed separately, from a different team of green algae. For onepoint,liverworts don’t save food as starch however as oils. If you obtain theaquaticliverwort Porella in lab, take a sniff of the jar, however not toodeep!It smells of rancid oils, oils that went a small funky while the plantwas being shipped. Anvarious other characteristic distinct to liverworts is theirabsence of stomata, which are uncovered in all other plants, consisting of mossesand also hornworts.

In many type of species of liverworts, such as Marchantia, the oneyouwill certainly most likely check out in lab, the antheridia and archegonia are not ontopof the plant, yet hanging down from the underside of odd littlestructuresthat look like tiny umbrellas. (These umbrella-shaped frameworks arecalledthe antheridiophore and archegoniophore). The bi-flagellated spermswimsto the egg, and fertilization takes place to form a diploid (2N)zygote.The tiny diploid sporophytes, which remain attrached to the parentplant,have actually a really basic framework. Meiosis within the sporophyte produces avariety of haploid spores. These spores are surrounded by curious longandtwisted moist cells called elaters. When the capsule dries and also bursts,the elaters twist and also jerk approximately in a way that scatters the spores inall directions. Liverworts deserve to likewise reproduce asexually by means ofspecialframeworks dubbed gemmae cups. These bit cups deserve to be easilyseenon the surface of the plant. Each gemma cup consists of a number of tinyplantletscalled gemmae, and also a single drop of water will disperse them. Theselittlevegetative “clones” will certainly then flourish right into a new gametophyte.

Division Anthocerophyta - (100 sp.), hornworts, Anthoceros

The green gametophytes of the hornwort look exceptionally a lot prefer aliverwort.But their tiny sporophytes even more closely resemble those of mosses. Thesporophytes grow out of the gametophyte, and also look prefer a small uprighthorn. Like mosses, hornworts have stomata, and so are most likely morecloselypertained to mosses and also various other plants than to the liverworts they matresemble.These plants are symbiotic via the cyanobacteria Nostoc. Thecyanobacteriafixes nitrogen for the hornwort.


Kingdom Plantae


Division Bryophyta - mosses (Mnium, Sphagnum; fr.Gr.bryon= moss)

Division Hepaticophyta - liverworts (Marchantia,Conocephalum,Porella; fr.Gr. hepato = liver)

Division Anthocerophyta - hornworts (= Anthocerotophyta; Anthoceros;fr.Granthos = flower, keras = horn)

Terms alternation of generations gametophyte gametangium (-ia) archegonium (-ia) antheridium (-ia) sporophyte sporangium (-ia) spore capsule protonema vascular mechanism gemmae gemmae cupTo Do and also View

Examine the living mosses on screen. Notice the tiny capsuleson height of the tiny sporophytes. Mosses mainly flourish in among twogrowthtypes: cushiony moss and also feathery moss.

Examine slides of the antheridia and also archegonia. The sausageshaped antheridia create sperm, and also the flask shaped archegoniaproduces eggs.

Examine slides of the moss capsule, and determine the spores.

Examine slides of the protonema. What type of algaedoesit remind you of? This resemblance is additional proof that greenalgaeprovided increase to all better plants.

Examine the terrestrial liverworts Marchantia and also Conencephalum(oneor both must be on display). How does their expansion halittle bit differ fromthat of the mosses? Can you check out any kind of gemmae cups on the uppersurfaceof these plants?

Examine slides of the liverwort Marchantia.

Examine the aquatic liverworts choose PorellaandRiccia(one or both have to be on display). Notice just how they differ from themoreterrestrial creates of liverwort.

Look at the maintained liverworts, and observe their distinctreproductive frameworks (they look favor bit green umbrellas). Howdoestheir life cycle differ from mosses?

Examine slides of the hornwort Anthocerophyta.

Things to Remember

Kcurrently the life cycle of the moss in information, and also be able torecognizethe various steras.

Hint: Be certain you understand also the basic life cycle ofplants,and can tell which stperiods are haploid gametophytes (1N) or diploidsporophytes(2N). We"ll learn several life cycles in lecture and in lab (moss,fern,pine, flowering plant), however every one of them are variations on the samebasicdesign template.

Ecological, Evolutionary, and also Economic Importance

Mosses are important in landscaping and also gardening, especially peatmoss(Sphagnum).

Peat moss (Sphagnum) has been offered historically as dressingsfor wounds.

Peat moss have the right to be used as fuel.

Mosses are the a lot of primitive living land also plants.

Hornworts contain symbiotic swarms of the cyanobacteria Nostoc.


shining club moss

Introduction to Tracheophytes - Ferns and also Fern Allies

Tracheophytes (vascular plants) completed the occupation of theearth’s surface begun by the more primitive bryophytes. Just as theevolutionof spores was the essential to the invasion of the land surface bybryophytes,the invention of complicated vascular tworries let tracheophytes completetheconquest of dry land also. There are about 250,000 species of vascularplants,grouped in nine divisions. Tracheophytes all have a well developedroot-shootsystem, through very specialized roots, stems, and leaves, andspecializedvasculartissue (xylem and phloem) that attribute choose miniature tubes toconductfood, water, and nutrients throughout the plant. Due to the fact that ferns and also fernallies posses true vascular tconcerns, they can prosper to be a lot largerandthicker than the bryophytes.

The ferns and fern allies (non-seed tracheophytes) mark 2 majorevolutionarystrides. In these and in all more advanced plants, the leafy green diploidsporophyte currently becomes the leading stage. The tiny gametophytemight be either autotropophic (choose the fern prothallus) orheterotrophic(prefer the gametophytes of some lycopsids), and is mostly totally free livingand also independent of the parental sporophyte. Unlike the vascularsporophytes,the gametophytes have actually no vascular tconcern at all. These gametophytes aretherefore very tiny, and build finest in moist areas, wbelow they canabsorbwater straight from their surroundings.

Like the bryophytes, ferns and also fern allies are still minimal tomoisthabitats. Their flagellated sperm require a thin film of water to swimbetweenthe antheridium and the archegonium. And as soon as the baby sporophyte growsup from the gametophyte, it is exposed to desiccation (drying up). Thisfundamental strategy of a free-swimming sperm and a non-motile egg is sharedby plants, pets, and algae. It provides feeling, because it indicates onlyoneset of gametes has to make the perilous journey exterior of theorganism.


ground pine (Lycopodium) reflecting strobili

The ferns and fern allies germinate from spores. These plants aremostlyhomosporous- their spores are similar and also you can"t distinguish which willthrive right into male or female plants. They are also monoecious -boththe archegonia and also antheridia (male and female reabundant structures)are borne on the very same plant. Contrast these primitive vascular plantswiththe even more progressed seed plants, the gymnosperms and angiosperms, whichgerminatefrom seeds quite than from spores. Seed plants are all heterosporous.It is straightforward to identify the larger female megaspore fromthesmaller male microspore. The sperm of seed plants have actually noflagella.They absence antheridia, and just a few still have an archegonia. Unliketheeven more primitive ferns and also fern allies, seed plants are greatly dioecious,having actually sepaprice male and female plants.

In many type of of these primitive plants, particular leaves are specializedforremanufacturing. These modified leaves, or sporophylls, bear thesporangiaat their bases. These sporophylls usually branch out from a shortenedstem,forming a club shaped framework dubbed a strobilus. The pineconeand also the flower are elaborate variations on these primitive strobili.

There are four departments of non-seed tracheophytes, vascular plantsthat redevelop by suggests of spores, the Psilophyta, Lycophyta,Sphenophyta,and also Pterophyta. Before these non-seed tracheophytes progressed, thebryophyteswere the dominant create of plant life. The evolutionary edge of having actually aeven more effective conducting system, and a well-arisen root-shootsystemallowed them to outcontend bryophytes. If you’re lucky enough to seegroundpine or various other club mosses growing in the shade of a large pine tree,thinkfor a minute around how these tiny plants were as soon as the masters of theplanet,developing substantial woodlands via trunks from 20 to 100 feet tall!


Kingdom Plantae

Tracheophytes (vascular tproblem, no seeds)

Division Lycophyta - club moss, quillworts (Lycopodium,Selaginella)

Division Sphenophyta - horsetails (Equisetum; fr.L.equus= horse)

Division Psilophyta - whisk fern (Psilotum)

Division Pterophyta - true ferns (Pteris; fr.Gr.pteridion= little bit wing)

Terms homosporous heterosporous megaspores microspores rhizomes sporophylls strobilus (-i) sori indusium (-ia) prothallus fiddleheadsCharacteristics of Divisions

Division Psilophyta - (fr Gr. psilo = smooth), whiskferns,Psilotum

Tright here are only 2 living genera of whisk ferns, sole survivors of alarge and also widespreview group of early on land plants. In addition to thelivingDivision Psilophyta, the psilopsids, tright here are two extinct divisions ofprimeval vascular plants. The primitive whisk ferns resemble theseextinctpioneers in many type of means. They are the just living vascular plants thatlacka root-shoot mechanism, a characteristic they share with both extinctDivisionsof ancestral vascular plants. Some current molecular evidence suggeststhatone, or also both, of the living genera of psilopsids may actually bemorevery closely pertained to ferns, like a fern that has changed to moreprimitivetraits. If this is true, then Psilophyta will join the ranks of thenumerousextinct Divisions of plants.

Psilopsids are found in tropical and also subtropical areas, and also occursthroughoutthe southerly US. I when uncovered one growing on my earlier porch under theleavesof a spider plant. Whisk ferns are a widespread weed in greenhomes alloverthe human being. They are straightforward green upideal stems, with dichotomousbranching.They have no leaves, and no true roots. The external tworries of the stemdoall the photosynthesizing. A percentage of the stem dubbed a rhizome runsalong the ground, or just below it. A rhizome is a horizontalstemthat spreads the plant about. Roots grow out the bottom of therhizome,and also a brand-new plant deserve to aclimb at the exact same allude from the top.

The green stem-choose plant is the diploid sporophyte, the dominantstagein the life cycle. In the small sporangia (bright yellow) that formalongthe top stems, the spore mother cell creates haploid spores by meiosis.Their gametophytes are tiny bit thread-like underground plants thatlack chlorophyll, and live as heterotrophs in the soil, looking andactinga lot choose a tiny fungi. It actually includes a symbiotic fungi, thesamemycorrhizae that live in the rhizomes of the adult sporophyte.


Division Lycophyta - (1,000 sp., fr. Gr. lycos=wolf), clubmosses,quillworts, Lycopodium (podus=foot)

Their are only 5 living genera of lycopsids, however at one time fromthe far-off Devonian, about 400 mya, well into the Carboniferous, theywere the dominant create of vegetation on the challenge of the Earth. Now theyare reduced to a shadow of their glorious past, inconspicuous littleplantsin the woodland understory. The tropical species are small epiphytes(plantsthat flourish on other plants).

Their roots prosper from one-of-a-kind underground stems called rhizomes, asdo most of these primitive tracheophytes. In some species thesporophyllsare combined in through the scale-favor leaves. In many species, thesporophyllsare arranged right into strobili, hence the common name of “club moss”. Thesperm swim down the strobilus to the archegonia, and the zygote thatformsis kept in the cone, which ripens and also drops to the ground. Thegametophytesare independent and also free-living, They are curious creatures that lookandact nothing like their sporophyte parental fees. They have the right to be eitherheterotrophicor autotrophic, and also normally have actually a symbiotic fungi linked withthem.Many kind of of the lycopsids are heterosporous. Selaginella is a goodexampleof a heterosporous plant.

Division Sphenophyta - (15 sp., one genus, fr. Gr.sphen=wedge),horsetails, Equisitum

In waste locations, disturbed locations favor trails and railroad beds, andin odd corners of fields and forests you can discover another little plantquietly dreaming of its former splendor, the horsetail. Horsetailsappearedin the late Devonian, and also were among the dominant woodland trees forhundredsof millions of years. Only one genus of Sphenophyta still exists, thegenusEquisetum,and it might be the oldest living genus of plants on earth. Horsetailstoweredamong the Carboniferous woodlands, reaching heights of 30-60 feet. Muchofthe coal deposits we make use of for fuel today were developed from horsetailsand also other trees during the Carboniferous, towards the finish of thePaleozoic.

Horsetails have true roots, stems, and leaves, though the leaves arelittle bit even more than flattened stems. Their hollow, ribbed stems arejointed,type of prefer a stalk of bamboo, and also a whorl of leaves arises at eachjoint.The plants are spreview vegetatively by rhizomes. The stems feel veryrough,because the epidermal tissues are impregnated via tiny grains ofsilica(sand). This most likely helps protect the plant against herbivores. Theseturbulent stems made this plant ideal for pioneer womales to use forscrubbingpots and also pans, therefore its other widespread name, “scouring rush”.

The green plant we view is the diploid sporophyte generation. Thestalkscan be very branched vegetative stalks, which actually look likehorsetails, or directly unbranched refertile stalks, which are tippedwitha large strobilus containing the sporangia. The homosporous sporesdevelopinto a teeny-tiny green gametophyte, just a couple of mm lengthy, that lookslikethe gametophyte of a fern. The gametophyte is haploid, free-living, andautotrophic.

Division Pterophyta - (12,000 sp., fr. Gr. pteridion=littlewing),ferns

Ferns most likely progressed from the psilopsids, sometime in theDevonian,relatively at an early stage in land plant advancement. They are exceptionally numerous anddiverse, ranging in size from a single centimeter to trees 24 meterstallvia 5 meter fronds. Ferns have actually been much better competitors with seedplantsthan various other seedmuch less vascular plants, and also are a conspicuous part of thelandscape throughout the people, however specifically in the tropics, where75%of their 12,000 species occur.

Ferns are fairly advanced plants, via true roots, stems andleaves.The blade of the fern is called a frond, and also the little individualleafletsare referred to as pinnae. Ferns have actually true leaves, what botanists callmacrophylls.While the leaves of even more primitive plants, which are calledmicrophylls,are simply extensions of the epidermis of the stem, the leaves of fernsand also higher plants were developed as a web of tproblem stretched betweensmallterminal branches. The leaves of better plants, as well as the modifiedleaves that comprise the pine cone and also the flower.

The life cycle of the fern is typical of other non-seed vascularplants.The leafy green plant is the sporophyte. Fertile fronds developsclustersof tiny sporangia on the underside of the frond. These clusters ofsporangiaare dubbed sori (sing. sorus). Sori are frequently protected by atinyumbrella-like cap called an indusium (-ia). Ferns are mostlyhomosporous,though some are heterosporous. The heterosporous state is a moreadvancedproblem, that appears to have progressed separately in numerous groupsofplants.

The haploid spores are formed by meiosis inside the sporangium. Theyare ejected in a miniature explosion resulted in by the unequal drying ofthealternate thick and also thin-walled cells that line the external surchallenge. Theoptimal pulls progressively ago until it reaches an important suggest and also then snapsforward at an incredible speed. At that size range, the expulsion offernspores is among the most explosive occasions in nature. The sporesgerminateinto tiny gametophytes. The bit heart shaped gametophyte is dubbed aprothallus,literally “first-body” (pl prothalli). the prothallus has no vasculartissue.Its tiny size allows it count totally on diffusion. Its tiny rhizoidsarelinked via mycorrhizal fungi. The bit prothallus is green, andphotoman-made, and also bears either antheridia and archegonia, orsometimesboth together, on its top surchallenge (lab slides have both on sameprothallus).The archegonia are always found at the arch of the heart, and also theantheridiaare tucked ameans among the tiny rhizoids at the other end. The spermswimsto the egg to fuse into a diploid zygote. The new sporophyte growsdirectlyout of the peak of the gametophyte. When it initially starts to uncurl, thefrond looks choose the scrolled neck of a violin or fiddle, and also thisstageof advancement is referred to as a fiddlehead.


To Do and View

Examine the living lycopsids on display screen. Why are they calledclub mosses? Notice that quillworts and also Selaginella are verydifferentin appearance from the club mosses.

Examine slides of Selaginella"s strobilus. Identify megasporesand microspores.

Examine the living horsetails on screen. Notice theprominentstrobiliofthe refertile stalks, and the bushy development develop of the vegetativestalks(if available).

Examine the living whisk ferns on display. Psilopsidshave an easy dichotomous branching pattern. You might see tiny yellowsporangiaon the branches. Whisk ferns lack strobili. These primitive plants arecarefully pertained to ferns.

Examine the living ferns on screen. Can you check out any kind of fiddleheads?Look for the rhizomes. Rhizomes are modified horizontal stemsbearingroots, that run along or simply underneath the ground, and also spreview fernsandfern allies roughly.

Examine the living fern prothallus on display screen under adissectingmicroscope. Note its characteristic heart shape. Some prothalli mayhavea tiny new fern emerging from the notch of the "arch" heart, wright here thearchegoniaaresituated.

Examine slides of the prothallus: Find the archegonia(can you see an egg?).

Examine the fern leaflet on screen under the dissectingmicroscope.Notice the significant indusia, and also the tiny sporangiapeekingout from beneath. You"ll check out a couple of teams of sporangia that have actually losttheirindusium. If you"re lucky, as the warm of the microscope dries out theleaflet, you might see the sporangia eject its spores. But don"tblink- it"s one of the fastest and also most explosive acts in nature. Use highpowerto observe the spores.

Examine slides of the sori and indusia; usage high powerto observe the spores.

Things to Remember

Kcurrently the life cycle of the fern. Recognize specimens andslidesof the various steras.

Economic, Ecological, and Evolutionary Importance

Ferns and fern allies are generally responsible for our moderndepositsof coal.

The fiddleheads of some species of ferns are edible.

See more: How Many Times Do We Have To Teach You This Lesson Meme, : Image Gallery (List View)

Ferns are essential for the florist, gardening and landscapesectors.

Consider This

Why are all these plants limited to wet habitats?

Which group of protists offered rise to these plants? (How execute we know?)

Why is the epidermis of the horsetail so rough? What does it needprotectionfrom?

All of the fern allies in this lab when towered 50-100 feet or even more.What happened?

Links to Explore

Bryophyte taxonomy, imeras, and even more at:

Get info around bryophytes from the Missouri Botanical Garden at:

Lie dvery own among the ferns at the Amerideserve to Fern Society, attempt theirlengthylist of links:

Basic details on ferns and also fern allies, finish with imeras, courtesyof Texas A&M:

Look for ferns on the "tree of life" at