1. The Plant body is a gametophyte. They grow in areas which arc in between the aquatic and terrestrial habitats i.e. amphibious zone and hence known as amphibious plants.
2. They have thalloid or leafy multi cellular green plant body.
3. The smallest form is microscopic (e.g. Zoopsis). The largest genus recorded so far is an Australian Dawsonia which is about 70 cms in length.
4. The dominant plant body is gametophyte (n) which is independent.
5. The plant body lacks true roots, stem or leaves.
6. Rhizoids – (root like structure) serve the function of roots.
7. The plants are green and possess chloroplasts.
8. They show autotrophic mode of nutrition.
9. Vascular tissues are completely absent.
10. Sexual reproduction is oogamous.
11. Sex organs are multi cellular and jacketed.
12. Male reproductive organ is known as antheridium. It is a club shaped structure being borne by a narrow stalk. It produces biflagellate and motile male gametes or antherozoids.
14. The female sex organ is known as archegonium. It is a flask shaped structure having a swollen base and a narrow neck.
15. Water is essential for fertilization.
16. The diploid zygote undergoes repeated divisions to form a multi cellular sporophyte.
17. Sporophyte is dependent on the gametophyte for nutrition.
18. Sporophyte generally consists of foot, seta and capsule. It produces haploid spores (homospores).
19. Spores on germination give rise to gametophyte plant.
20. Gametophyte and sporophyte differ in form which alternate with each other, thus heterologous alternation of generation is seen in Bryophytes.
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Bryophyta
Class – Bryopsida
Order – Funariales
Family – Funariaceae
Genus – Funaria (about 117 species)
The genus Funaria is cosmopolitan in distribution, and occurs both in tropical and temperate regions of the world. The plants are commonly known as “Cord Mosses”, which grow on moist shady places such as damp soil, moist rocks and crevices.
The Gametophytic plant
The gametophytic phase of life cycle includes two stages – (I) Protonemal stage, formed by the germination of spores and (ii) the adult gametophyte developed on protonema. The main plant body in adult gametophyte consists of erect leafy shoot.
Vegetative Structure (Morphology or external feature)
The plant body is a gametophyte. It is short, about 1-3 centimeters in height and grows in tufts. The plants are differentiated into an erect axis and spirally arranged leaves with numerous rhizoids attached at the base.
The rhizoids are long, slender, and branched threadlike structures which arise from the protonema as well as from the base of stem as tubular extension on surface cells. The rhizoids resemble the roots in their function but are not true roots. They fix plant body to the substratum and absorb water and minerals.
The axis (Stem)
The main axis (stem) is a short, slender, erect, branched, green structure bearing leaves.
Each leaf is flat, bright green in color, ovate in shape with pointed apex and entire margin. The leaves are sessile having well defined mid-rib. The leaves are arranged spirally on the main axis and branches.