Seedless Nonvascular Plants

Have you ever seen mosses growing on tree trunks, rocks, or the ground in damp or humid areas

A typical growth of moss plants looks like a soft, green carpet on the forest floor. Sporophyte is the spore-producing diploid stage in the moss life cycle. It includes a stalk and a capsule in which numerous haploid spores are produced. Eventually, the capsule breaks open and the spores are scattered. When a haploid spore lands on wet soil or rocks, it germinates into a thin, threadlike green structure. Within a few days, small gametophyte moss plants begin to grow here and there along the thread. A gametophyte is the form of a moss plant that produces sex cells. Sometimes, a moss gametophyte produces only male or female sex cells, but often both types are produced. During a heavy dew or rain, the male sperm get splashed onto the female gametophyte. They swim to the female eggs. When the male and female sex cells unite, a diploid zygote forms. The zygote divides by mitosis to form an embryo, which in turn develops into a sporophyte, and the cycle begins again. In plants, this continual cycle, which alternates between the spore-producing phase and sex cell-producing phase, is called alternation of generations. I



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