Bryophyta is the Plant Division that contains mosses. Plants in this Division have crude stems and leaves, but no roots. Instead of roots, they have "rhizoids." Rhizoids help anchor the plant to a surface, but they do not absorb nutrients like roots on other plants do. Instead of using flowers to make seeds, mosses release spores from their leaves. Spores can travel by water and make new mosses in new locations. Water is very important to mosses, so they can grow and spread; however, mosses can survive even when they dry out. When they become wet again, they revive and continue growing.
The Bryophyta Division is split into three main Classes, listed below:
Bryopsida Class: Mosses in this Class are called "True Mosses" and make up 95% of the mosses in the world. There is a great variety of shapes and colors for mosses in the Bryopsida Class. Includes: Atrichum Mosses, Lyellia Mosses, Tetrodontium Mosses, Bryum Mosses, Copper Mosses, Arctoa Mosses, and Leucobryum Mosses, as well as many others.
The Bryopsida Class is split into several Orders, some of which are listed below:
Polytrichales Order: Includes Atrichum Mosses, Lyellia Mosses, and Polytrichum Mosses.
Tetraphidales Order: Includes Tetraphis Mosses and Tetrodontium Mosses.
Bryales Order: Includes Bryum Mosses, Copper Mosses, Rhizomnium Mosses, and Timmia Mosses.
Dicranales Order: Includes Leucobryum Mosses, Trichodon Mosses, and Arctoa Mosses.
Andreaeopsida Class: Mosses in this Class, also called "Lantern Mosses," grow on the surfaces of rocks. They range in color from reddish to blackish. Includes: Andreaea Mosses and Andreaeobryum Mosses.
The Andreaeopsida Class is split into two Orders:
Andreaeales Order: Includes Andreaea Mosses.
Andreaeobryales Order: Includes Andreaeobryum Mosses.
Sphagnopsida Class: These mosses, also known as "Peat Mosses," are burned as fuel. Peat Moss is also an important part of habitat for crops, such as blueberries.
The Sphagnopsida Class only contains one Order:
Sphagnales Order: Includes Sphagnum Mosses.
All of the Orders above have been split into smaller groups, called Families. Families are then split into Genera. Remember, as each group gets smaller, organisms in that group are more and more alike. Each Genus will contain individual Species.
Information on specific Families and Genera is not included on this website, but you can find out which groups a species belongs to by checking the Classification Box at the bottom of each Species Page. See the example of White Cushion Moss below:
White Cushion Moss: