What are Bryophytes?
- The word bryophyte is the collective term for mosses, hornworts and liverworts and bryology is the study of bryophytes.
- They are spore-producing, rather than seed-producing, plants and they are all without flowers.
- Bryophytes can be found in great variety throughout the year in areas ranging from arid to rainforest, and in habitat from sea-level to alpine.
- They have root-like anchoring structures, called rhizoids click for photo, but these (unlike the roots of most plants) do not actively extract minerals and water from the substrate.
- Bryophytes produce spores, rather than seeds.
- Bryophytes play significant roles in the ecosystem. They arrange the suitable microclimate in the forest ecosystem, and provide suitable microhabitats for many other organisms, especially small insects.
Why in the news?
- A new species of moss of the genus Bryocrumia has been named “Bryocrumia malabarica” after the Malabar region of Kerala from where it was spotted.
- Bryocrumia malabarica was discovered in the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary along the Western Ghats.
- Earlier, genus Bryocrumia had only one species Bryocrumia vivicolor and was thought to be a monotypic (genus represented by just one species). But the latest species discovery has given a new breakthrough.
- B malabarica differs from Bryocrumia vivicolor in the structure of its leaves and has light green colour leaves.