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Difference Between Liverworts and Mosses

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Introduction to Liverworts and Mosses

Bryophytes are primary green plants with many unspecialized features although they are common in many of the Earth's ecosystems. There are approximately 24,700 bryophyte species. Bryophytes are also called non-tracheophytes, as they do not contain tracheid cells that are ideal for water and nutrient conduction. All the other plants in green are called tracheophytes.

Such plants' gametophytes can photosynthesize and are more visible than sporophytes. Sporophytes are related to gametophytes and get nutrients from them. Bryophytes, like some tracheophytes, require water for their sexual reproduction. Most of these animals are therefore found mostly in wet terrestrial habitats. Differences between liverworts and mosses will be discussed in brief in this article.

What are Liverworts?

Liverworts are simple bryophytes with small, leathery bodies that develop in flat, moist terrestrial habitats or still water bodies surfaces. The body of most liverworts has no true structure of the leaf network and is therefore sometimes called a thallus. Often the thallus is subdivided to form lobes, and the size of the lobe can vary between different species. Many species are attached to' head' (not a true stem) with' leaves' (not true leaves) These' leaves' are a single thick cell with no cuticular or vascular system at all. Sometimes, the' leaves' are split into two or more lobes and arranged in two rows.

Many liverworts may contain a midrib, and some have pores through which the exchange of gas occurs. These pores can not close in contrast to stomata in higher plants. Other liverworts can not be immune to dry periods, whereas some are sensitive to this situation. Sexual reproduction is analogous to moss. The gametangia in the umbrella-shaped form come from the gametophyte. Asexual reproduction occurs through pieces of lens-shaped tissue, released from the gametophyte.

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What are Mosses?

Moses is complex bryophytes consisting of small, leaflike structures spirally or consecutively arranged like an axis around the stem. Because these leaf-like and stem-like structures do not have the vascular tissue that is usually found in vascular plants, they can not be considered as true leaves and stems. Mosses have rhizoids, which act as roots and allow them to attach themselves to their substrates. Each rhizoid contains many water-absorbing cells in it. The leaf-like structure is thick with a single layer of cells and has a smooth midrib and flattened tip.

Moses has specialized cells that conduct water in the middle of the gametophyte axis. Many mosses also contain cells that conduct food around the water-conducting cell layer. Mosses gametangia are multicellular and are located at the gametophyte tips. Female gametangia (archegonia) can be found either with male gametangia (antheridia) or with separate plants on the same plant.

Antheridium yields several sperms, while an archegonium yields a single egg. Once sperms are released they swim and enter archegonia with the aid of their flagella. This is separated by mitosis after fertilization and zygote formation and forms the sporophyte. Mosses sporophyte is a brown stalk with a swollen capsule over it. The leafy gametophyte is photosynthetic, but the sporophyte is not and the gametophyte obtains nutrients.

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Let’s check some differences between liverworts and mosses.

Moss Vs Liverwort



Liverworts have lobbed or branched thallus which is flattened dorsoventrally.

Mosses are similar to stem or thallus that are leafy and possess spiral or radial symmetry.

Liverworts are related to the' Marchantiophyta' branch.

Division ' Bryophyta' is synonymous with mosses.

The liverwort leaf-like structure exhibits the flattened patterns that form two to three rows.

The mosses ' leaf-like structure exhibits the pattern of a spiral or whorl form.

Porella, Riccia, and Marchantia belong liverworts category.

Sphagnum, Funaria, and Polytrichum are Classified as mosses.

They can be foliose or thallose.

The mosses can be foliose.

The body of a plant is dorsiventral.

The body plant is radial.

Leaves do not consist of midribs.

Leaves have midrib

Dichotomous branching is observed

Extra-axillary and lateral branching are observed.

Unicellular rhizoids are present

Multicellular rhizoids are present

Scales or amphigastria are found.

Scales or amphigastria are not found.

Sporogonium has few green tissues, and its food can not be synthesized.

Sporogonium has plenty of green tissue, and its food can be synthesized.

Seta growth is rapid for spores to mature.

Seta growth is slow, and eventually develops before spores mature.

Elaters are present except in Riccia.

Elaters are not observed

Peristome teeth are absent.

Peristome teeth occur inside the capsule in the apical region.

The columella is absent.

The sterile columella is present in capsules.

Protonemata is absent in liverworts.

Mosses have filamentous protonemata.

Chlorophyll and stomata are absent.

Chlorophyll and stomata are present in sporophytes for gaseous exchange.

Sex organs on the thallus dorsal side, which develop from the superficial cells, are present.

Sex organs grow up from the superficial cells at the apex of the leafy gametophyte.

Similarities Between Mosses and Liverworts

In the two liverworts and mosses, the gametophyte varies over the sporophyte.

Non - vascular plants are both "liverworts and mosses". Non-flowering plants are both "liverworts and mosses".

Liverworts and mosses vary in the "haploid gametophyte morphology".

The main "difference between" liverworts and mosses is that the "liverwort gametophyte" is a "those or foliose" while the gametophyte of mosses is usually prostate, and a "branched filament structure".

Benefits of Knowing the Difference Mosses and Liverworts

Apart from learning the topics, you should better understand the difference between these topics. When you know the difference, it becomes easy to break down things to select the required knowledge as per the need.

Our in-house teachers offer you a detailed explanation of topics in an online class. You can join the Biology online class to know more about the liverworts and mosses than only knowing about the difference. 

FAQs on Difference Between Liverworts and Mosses

1. What are Liverworts?

Liverworts are simple Bryophytes that possess small, leathery bodies, developed in flat moist terrestrial habitats or the still water bodies surface. The body of the liverworts does not have any definite structure; this is a reason sometimes we know them as Thallus.

2. What makes mosses unique?

Mosses are stemlike and leaf-like structures that consist of the gametophytic (sexual) generation. These tiny plants have unconvincing properties; they can easily survive in the hot desert areas to the cold icy caves. People consider moss an ancient plant with its cousins like liverworts comes in the bryophytes category of the plant kingdom. One more unique thing about the mosses is they can survive heat much better than when they are hydrated. And due to the capillary properties of moss, it functions like a sponge.

3. Are mosses Vascular Plants?

No, mosses are not vascular plants because they do not have vacuoles or vessels. A Vascular plant carries water through the xylem and uses phloem to supply sugar to every cell. Mosses, on the other hand, are different, every cell in the moss lies flat and directly absorbs water and sunlight; each cell of moss produces carbon using photosynthesis and uses this energy to run its part. Mosses do not use any other specific cell to get taller; they straightforwardly cling to the plants and trees. 

4. What are Mosses and Liverworts?

Mosses and liverworts are tiny plants that produce flowers and seeds instead of spores. Mosses and liverworts vary but they share enough important characteristics to be classified as bryophytes collectively.

5. What Type of Plants are Liverworts and Mosses?

Tiny, non - vascular plants such as mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are bryophytes. They play a vital role in controlling ecosystems because they provide other plants with an essential buffer system that exists alongside and benefits from the water and nutrients that bryophytes receive.

6. What do Moss and Liverworts have in Common?

Traditionally, mosses and liverworts are grouped together in the Bryophyta division on the basis of their sharing: a similar life cycle (alternating generations), similar reproductive organs (antheridia and archegonia), lack of vascular tissue (xylem and phloem).