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Flat Earth Academy- Science- Botany

Mosses and similar plants- a plant kingdom "phylum"

This is a work in progress... please bear with me, come back and watch it grow? Send constructive suggestions?

The mosses and (similar plants) are all plants. The group is like a "phylum" (next level subdivision) of the plant kingdom. ("Phylum" is in quotes, because botanists don't use that term, but "mosses (and similar plants)" is one of the sub-groups the plant kingdom is divided into, so I think it is okay to think of it as a phylum!)

The mosses and similar plants

Besides the mosses you would easily recognize, in this group we include the liverworts, and a few other similar plants. The liverworts are small "blobs" of green tissue... vaguely leaf-like, but always small.

One characteristic of the group is the absence of vascular tissue. There are no "little tubes" within the organism to move fluids around. If they lived in water, they might get away with this, but they don't. They are land plants. The lack of vascular tissue keeps them small.

The also use a spore instead of a seed. (There more about spores and seeds in the page about the ferns, which also use spores, but are more complex than the mosses in that they have vascular tissue.)

Despite spores being "simple", in both mosses and ferns, the life cycle is remarkably complex. For the purposes of the Flat Earth Academy, you don't "need" to know the details... we will use other examples of complex life cycles to ensure that you understand just how boring human reproduction is compared to some organisms.

(Optional, extra, stuff: The "complex life cycle" is hard to describe in a nutshell, but in some ways it is as if you looked like your grandparents, but not like your parents. The would look like their grandparents (your great grandparents) but not like their parents. In both mosses and ferns, you get systems where the form of the organism varies strongly between two different forms. An "A" type organism makes a "B" type organism which makes an "A" type, which makes a "B" type, and so on and so on. Weird. And not easy to understand. But true! Both groups reproduce sexually, but also sometimes use asexual reproduction ("sex-less" reproduction.)

Liverwort fossils appear in rocks thought to be 400 million years old; moss fossils appear in rocks believed to be perhaps 330 million years old. Note that the simpler forms appear to be older. Fossils of algae appear in rocks thought to be 1,400 million years old!

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