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


Overview to Bryophytes - Mosses, Liverworts,and Hornworts

As we pass from mosses to ferns, we see a gradual shift fromprimitiveto modern traits. There are two major trends you have to emphasis on intoday"slab. The initially is a change in life cycles, the second is a changeinfundamental internal structure.

You are watching: Which stage is the dominant stage in mosses

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

2nd, all plants must acquire water to their cells.Primitivebryophyteschoose mosses and liverworts are so small that they can depend on diffusionto move water in and out of the plant. Mosses have a couple of strands ofwaterconducting tconcern in their main stem, however nopoint like the large andwell organized network-related of tubes in tracheophytes, or "tubeplants".The vascular tproblems in the more progressed ferns and "fernallies"are made up of xylem and phloem, which conduct water,nutrients,and also food throughout the plant body. We"ll look at these tproblems in alaterlab.

Bryophytes additionally need a moist environment to redevelop. Theirflagellatedsperm need to swim with water to reach the egg. So mosses andliverwortsare minimal to moist habitats. Tbelow are no mosses in the desert.Butmosses are surprisingly resistant to drying up, and deserve to survive underveryharsh problems. Mosses are the a lot of plentiful plants in both theArcticand the Antarctic. Asexual remanufacturing in bryophytes is accomplishedbyfragmentation or by tiny vegetative "sprouts" called gemmae,whichcreate in special bit frameworks dubbed gemmae cups.

Mosses and liverworts are lumped together as bryophytes,plantslacking true vascular tworries, and sharing a variety of various other primitivetraits. They additionally lack true stems, roots, or leaves, though they havecellsthat perform 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 leading phase in all bryophytes. The sporophytesofbryophytes carry out not have actually a free-living visibility. They thrive straight outof the fertilized egg in the archegonia, and remain dependent on theparentgametophyte for their nutrition.

Characteristics of Divisions

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

Mosses come in 2 standard kinds, a cushiony form, via erect stalks,and a feathery kind, which forms flattened mats of low-lying and also highlybranched moss plants. In both instances, the leafy green gametophytes aredioeciousThey have the right to be male plants, through antheridia at the optimal of the plant, orfemaleplants, via archegonia at the optimal. Remember that these gametophytesareconstantly haploid (1N) plants.

Sperm are produced within each antheridium, and also an egg ineacharchegonium.Since the plant is already haploid, these gametes deserve to be produced bymitosis,basic cell department. The sperm swims to the archegonia via a thinfilm of water, drawn by a chemical attractant developed by the femaleplant,then swims down the neck of the archegonia to the egg. A good morningdewis even more than adequate water for the sperm to swim. Once the spermentersthe archegonia, it fuses through the egg. The 2N zygote develops into adiploidsporophyte plant, a small stalk that grows directly out of the peak ofthearchegonium. This stalk is initially green, and also photofabricated, butlatertransforms brown and becomes fundamentally a parasite on the femalegametophyte.

The sporophyte plant consists of a stalk, and 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 spread by wind and water. Thesporesgerminate into a tiny green threview, which looks like a simple strand ofgreen algae. This similarity is one more clue that bryophytes aredescendedfrom green algae. This beforehand threadlike phase is called the protonema(= initially thcheck out, plural = protonemata, prefer stigma/stigmata). The newadultgametophytes grow from a tiny bud that establishes on the protonema.Eventuallythese gametophytes will prosper to produce gametes, and the totality cyclewillbegin over aget. Mosses have the right to likewise reproduce asexually by fragmentationor by growing little bit vegetative buds called gemma, which can break offand grow right into a brand-new plant .

While bryophytes in basic are even more interesting than important, inthe usual sense, a conspicuous exemption are mosses of the genus Sphagnum.Sphagnummoss creates dense mats which end up being compressed into peat, which have the right to beusedas fuel, although it’s extremely smoky. Peat likewise contains other plants suchas reeds, that grow amid the sphagnum. In dried develop, peat moss isremarkablyabsorbent and, and has been used for diapers, for enriching poor gardensoils, and as a area dressing for wounds. Whereas cotton absorbs 4-6timesits dry weight, dried sphagnum deserve to absorb 20 times its very own weight influids!Peat bogs are incredibly vital and also amazing ecosystems. Sphagnummosses significantly boost regional acidity by releasing H+ ions, and the pHof peat bogs deserve to drop to 4 or reduced, maybe the the majority of acidic naturalsetting.Peat bogs cover about 1% of the Earth’s land also surconfront, a space abouthalfthe dimension 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 leading stage, looks favor a flat scaly leaf, with significant lobes.It looks for all the human being choose a tiny flattened liver, thus thescientificname hepatico-phyta = liver plant. Throughout the Center Ages, thissimilaritycaused doctors to prescribe liverwort for illness of the liver.Accordingto the Doctrine of Signatures the Creator had designed all of nature,includingplants, through our welfare in mind. People thought that plants had actually beenpurposely designed to resemble the organs of the body they weresupposedto heal! Hence liver-wort, wyrt being the Anglo-Saxon word for herb.Theform of the liverwort was the signature of the Creator in nature. Canyou guess what walnuts were supposed to cure ? (illness of thebrain)

Liverworts share the basic properties of bryophytes, however are notveryvery closely pertained to mosses or hornworts. Many botanists think they mayhaveadvanced separately, from a different team of green algae. For onething,liverworts don’t save food as starch however as oils. If you get theaquaticliverwort Porella in lab, take a sniff of the jar, however not toodeep!It smells of rancid oils, oils that went a tiny funky while the plantwas being shipped. Another characteristic distinctive to liverworts is theirlack of stomata, which are uncovered in all other plants, including mossesand hornworts.

In many species of liverworts, such as Marchantia, the oneyouwill many most likely view in lab, the antheridia and archegonia are not ontopof the plant, however hanging dvery own 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 area to develop a diploid (2N)zygote.The tiny diploid sporophytes, which remajor attrached to the parentplant,have actually a very easy 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 jerk roughly in a means that scatters the spores inall directions. Liverworts deserve to additionally reproduce asexually by indicates ofspecialframeworks called gemmae cups. These little cups have the right to be easilyseenon the surface of the plant. Each gemma cup includes a number of tinyplantletsdubbed gemmae, and a single drop of water will certainly disperse them. Theselittlevegetative “clones” will certainly then prosper into a new gametophyte.

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

The green gametophytes of the hornwort look extremely much prefer aliverwort.But their tiny sporophytes even more carefully resemble those of mosses. Thesporophytes grow out of the gametophyte, and look choose a tiny uprighthorn. Like mosses, hornworts have actually stomata, and also so are most likely morecloselyconcerned mosses and also various other plants than to the liverworts they matresemble.These plants are symbiotic through 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, kperiods = 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 display. Notice the small capsuleson top of the tiny sporophytes. Mosses mostly flourish in one of twogrowthtypes: cushiony moss and feathery moss.

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

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

Examine slides of the protonema. What type of algaedoesit remind you of? This resemblance is extra proof that greenalgaegave climb to all higher plants.

Examine the terrestrial liverworts Marchantia and Conencephalum(oneor both need to be on display). How does their development habit differ fromthat of the mosses? Can you check out any gemmae cups on the uppersurfaceof these plants?

Examine slides of the liverwort Marchantia.

Examine the aquatic liverworts like PorellaandRiccia(one or both must be on display). Notice how they differ from themoreterrestrial creates of liverwort.

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

Examine slides of the hornwort Anthocerophyta.

Things to Remember

Know the life cycle of the moss in detail, and be able torecognizethe assorted steras.

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

Ecological, Evolutionary, and also Economic Importance

Mosses are essential in landscaping and gardening, specifically peatmoss(Sphagnum).

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

Peat moss have the right to be provided as fuel.

Mosses are the most primitive living land also plants.

Hornworts contain symbiotic swarms of the cyanobacteria Nostoc.


shining club moss

Review to Tracheophytes - Ferns and also Fern Allies

Tracheophytes (vascular plants) completed the conquest of theearth’s surface started by the even more primitive bryophytes. Just as theevolutionof spores was the essential to the intrusion of the land also surface bybryophytes,the creation of complex vascular tproblems let tracheophytes completetheoccupation of dry land. Tbelow are about 250,000 species of vascularplants,grouped in nine departments. Tracheophytes all have actually a well developedroot-shootdevice, through very specialized roots, stems, and also leaves, andspecializedvasculartissue (xylem and also phloem) that feature choose miniature tubes toconductfood, water, and nutrients throughout the plant. Because ferns and fernallies posses true vascular tworries, they can flourish to be a lot largerandthicker than the bryophytes.

The ferns and fern allies (non-seed tracheophytes) note two majorevolutionarystrides. In these and also in all more advanced plants, the leafy green diploidsporophyte now becomes the leading phase. The tiny gametophytemight be either autotropophic (favor the fern prothallus) orheterotrophic(favor the gametophytes of some lycopsids), and also is mostly totally free livingand also independent of the parental sporophyte. Unchoose the vascularsporophytes,the gametophytes have actually no vascular tissue at all. These gametophytes aretherefore incredibly tiny, and construct best in moist areas, where they canabsorbwater straight from their surroundings.

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


ground pine (Lycopodium) mirroring strobili

The ferns and also fern allies germinate from spores. These plants aremostlyhomosporous- their spores are the same and also you can"t distinguish which willgrow right into male or female plants. They are also monoecious -boththe archegonia and antheridia (male and female reproductive structures)are borne on the exact same plant. Contrast these primitive vascular plantswiththe more progressed seed plants, the gymnosperms and angiosperms, whichgerminatefrom seeds fairly than from spores. Seed plants are all heterosporous.It is basic to distinguish the bigger female megaspore fromthesmaller male microspore. The sperm of seed plants have noflagella.They lack antheridia, and only a few still have actually an archegonia. Unliketheeven more primitive ferns and also fern allies, seed plants are largely dioecious,having sepaprice male and female plants.

In many kind of of these primitive plants, certain leaves are specializedforreproduction. These modified leaves, or sporophylls, bear thesporangiaat their bases. These sporophylls normally branch out from a shortenedstem,creating a club shaped structure dubbed a strobilus. The pineconeand also the flower are intricate variations on these primitive strobili.

Tright here are four divisions of non-seed tracheophytes, vascular plantsthat reproduce by means of spores, the Psilophyta, Lycophyta,Sphenophyta,and also Pterophyta. Before these non-seed tracheophytes advanced, thebryophyteswere the dominant develop of plant life. The evolutionary edge of having actually amore effective conducting mechanism, and a well-developed root-shootsystemenabled them to outcompete bryophytes. If you’re lucky enough to seegroundpine or other club mosses growing in the shade of a huge pine tree,thinkfor a minute around how these tiny plants were when the masters of theearth,forming huge forests through trunks from 20 to 100 feet tall!


Kingdom Plantae

Tracheophytes (vascular tworry, 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 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

There are just two living genera of whisk ferns, sole survivors of ahuge and widespread group of early land plants. In addition to thelivingDivision Psilophyta, the psilopsids, there are two extinct divisions ofprimeval vascular plants. The primitive whisk ferns resemble theseextinctpioneers in many type of methods. They are the only living vascular plants thatlacka root-shoot device, a characteristic they share with both extinctDivisionsof ancestral vascular plants. Some current molecular proof suggeststhatone, or even both, of the living genera of psilopsids might actually bemorevery closely related to ferns, prefer a fern that has reverted to moreprimitivetraits. If this is true, then Psilophyta will sign up with the ranks of thenumerousextinct Divisions of plants.

Psilopsids are uncovered in tropical and also subtropical areas, and occursthroughoutthe southern US. I when uncovered one thriving on my earlier porch under theleavesof a spider plant. Whisk ferns are a widespread weed in greenhomes alloverthe world. They are straightforward green upbest stems, through dichotomousbranching.They have no leaves, and no true roots. The outer tworries of the stemdoall the photosynthesizing. A percentage of the stem called a rhizome runsalengthy the ground, or simply below it. A rhizome is a horizontalstemthat spreads the plant around. Roots thrive out the bottom of therhizome,and also a brand-new plant deserve to aincrease at the very same allude from the optimal.

The green stem-choose plant is the diploid sporophyte, the dominantstagein the life cycle. In the little sporangia (bright yellow) that formalongthe top stems, the spore mommy cell develops haploid spores by meiosis.Their gametophytes are tiny bit thread-prefer underground plants thatlack chlorophyll, and also live as heterotrophs in the soil, looking andactingmuch prefer 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 just five living genera of lycopsids, however at once fromthe remote Devonian, about 400 mya, well into the Carboniferous, theywere the dominant develop of vegetation on the face of the Planet. Now theyare diminished to a shadow of their glorious past, inconspicuous littleplantsin the forest understory. The tropical species are little epiphytes(plantsthat flourish on other plants).

Their roots thrive from one-of-a-kind underground stems called rhizomes, asexecute most of these primitive tracheophytes. In some species thesporophyllsare combined in with the scale-favor leaves. In many type of species, thesporophyllsare organized right into strobili, for this reason the widespread name of “club moss”. Thesperm swim dvery own the strobilus to the archegonia, and also the zygote thatformsis retained in the cone, which ripens and also falls to the ground. Thegametophytesare independent and free-living, They are curious creatures that lookandact nothing choose their sporophyte parental fees. They have the right to be eitherheterotrophicor autotrophic, and also commonly have a symbiotic fungi associated withthem.Many type 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 like trails and railroad beds, andin odd corners of areas and forests you could discover one more tiny plantquietly dreaming of its previous splendor, the horsetail. Horsetailsappearedin the late Devonian, and also were among the leading forest trees forhundredsof countless years. Only one genus of Sphenophyta still exists, thegenusEquisetum,and also 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 this particular day were formed from horsetailsand other trees during the Carboniferous, towards the end of thePaleozoic.

Horsetails have true roots, stems, and leaves, though the leaves arebit more than flattened stems. Their hollow, ribbed stems arejointed,sort of choose a stalk of bamboo, and a whorl of leaves arises at eachjoint.The plants are spcheck out vegetatively by rhizomes. The stems feel veryrough,bereason the epidermal tissues are impregnated with tiny grains ofsilica(sand). This most likely helps defend the plant against herbivores. Theserough stems made this plant best for pioneer womales to use forscrubbingpots and also pans, for this reason its various other common name, “scouring rush”.

The green plant we see is the diploid sporophyte generation. Thestalkshave the right to be extremely branched vegetative stalks, which actually look likehorsetails, or right unbranched reabundant stalks, which are tippedwitha large strobilus containing the sporangia. The homosporous sporesdevelopinto a teeny-tiny green gametophyte, simply a couple of mm long, that lookslikethe gametophyte of a fern. The gametophyte is haploid, free-living, andautotrophic.

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

Ferns more than likely evolved from the psilopsids, at some point in theDevonian,reasonably beforehand in land also plant evolution. They are very numerous anddiverse, ranging in size from a solitary centimeter to trees 24 meterstallvia 5 meter fronds. Ferns have actually been much better competitors via seedplantsthan other seedmuch less vascular plants, and also are a conspicuous component of thelandscape throughout the human being, but specifically in the tropics, where75%of their 12,000 species occur.

Ferns are fairly progressed plants, via true roots, stems andleaves.The blade of the fern is referred to as a frond, and the little individualleafletsare referred to as pinnae. Ferns have actually true leaves, what botanists callmacrophylls.While the leaves of more primitive plants, which are calledmicrophylls,are sindicate extensions of the epidermis of the stem, the leaves of fernsand also higher plants were formed as a internet of tissue extended betweensmallterminal branches. The leaves of better plants, and the modifiedleaves that consist of the pine cone and also the freduced.

The life cycle of the fern is typical of various other non-seed vascularplants.The leafy green plant is the sporophyte. Fertile fronds developsclustersof little sporangia on the underside of the frond. These clusters ofsporangiaare referred to as sori (sing. sorus). Sori are frequently safeguarded by atinyumbrella-choose cap referred to as an indusium (-ia). Ferns are mostlyhomosporous,though some are heterosporous. The heterosporous state is a moreadvancedcondition, that seems to have actually advanced individually in a number of groupsofplants.

The haploid spores are formed by meiosis inside the sporangium. Theyare ejected in a miniature explosion brought about by the unequal drying ofthealternative thick and also thin-walled cells that line the external surface. Thetop pulls progressively earlier until it reaches an essential allude and also then snapsforward at an tremendous speed. At that dimension range, the expulsion offernspores is among the a lot of explosive occasions in nature. The sporesgerminateright into tiny gametophytes. The bit heart shaped gametophyte is called aprothallus,literally “first-body” (pl prothalli). the prothallus has no vasculartworry.Its tiny size allows it depend completely on diffusion. Its tiny rhizoidsareconnected via mycorrhizal fungi. The bit prothallus is green, andphotoman-made, and also bears either antheridia and archegonia, orsometimesboth together, on its top surconfront (lab slides have actually both on sameprothallus).The archegonia are constantly found at the arch of the heart, and theantheridiaare tucked ameans among the tiny rhizoids at the various other finish. The spermswimsto the egg to fuse right into a diploid zygote. The brand-new sporophyte growsdirectlyout of the peak of the gametophyte. When it initially starts to uncurl, thefrond looks favor the scrolled neck of a violin or fiddle, and also thisstageof development is referred to as a fiddlehead.


To Do and View

Examine the living lycopsids on 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 display. Notice theprominentstrobiliofthe reproductive stalks, and also the bushy expansion form of the vegetativestalks(if available).

Examine the living whisk ferns on display screen. Psilopsidshave an easy dichotomous branching pattern. You might view tiny yellowsporangiaon the branches. Whisk ferns absence strobili. These primitive plants areclosely regarded ferns.

Examine the living ferns on display screen. Can you see any type of fiddleheads?Look for the rhizomes. Rhizomes are modified horizontal stemsbearingroots, that run alengthy or just underneath the ground, and spread fernsandfern allies about.

Examine the living fern prothallus on screen under adissectingmicroscopic lense. Keep in mind its characteristic heart form. Some prothalli mayhavea tiny new fern arising from the notch of the "arch" heart, wright here thearchegoniaarelocated.

Examine slides of the prothallus: Find the archegonia(have the right to you check out an egg?).

Examine the fern leaflet on display under the dissectingmicroscopic lense.Notice the significant indusia, and also the small sporangiapeekingout from beneath. You"ll view a couple of teams of sporangia that have actually losttheirindusium. If you"re lucky, as the warmth of the microscope dries out theleaflet, you could watch the sporangia eject its spores. But don"tblink- it"s among the fastest and also most explosive acts in nature. Use highpowerto observe the spores.

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

Things to Remember

Kcurrently the life cycle of the fern. Recognize specimens andslidesof the assorted stages.

Economic, Ecological, and also Evolutionary Importance

Ferns and also fern allies are mainly responsible for our moderndepositsof coal.

The fiddleheads of some species of ferns are edible.

See more: Which Of These Is Not Included On The Monroney Sticker? ? Purchasing A Car

Ferns are vital for the florist, gardening and landscapemarkets.

Consider This

Why are all these plants limited to wet habitats?

Which group of protists gave climb to these plants? (How perform 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 more.What happened?

Links to Explore

Bryophyte taxonomy, imperiods, and also more at:

Get information around bryophytes from the Missouri Botanical Garden at:

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

Basic details on ferns and fern allies, complete through images, courtesyof Texas A&M:

Look for ferns on the "tree of life" at