|any plant of the phyla Bryophyta (mosses), Hepatophyta (liverworts), or Anthocerophyta (hornworts), having stems and leaves but lacking true vascular tissue and roots and reproducing by spores|
|[C19: New Latin, from Greek bruon moss + |
|bryophyte (brī'ə-fīt') Pronunciation Key
A member of a large group of seedless green plants including the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. Bryophytes lack the specialized tissues xylem and phloem that circulate water and dissolved nutrients in the vascular plants. Bryophytes generally live on land but are mostly found in moist environments, for they have free-swimming sperm that require water for transport. In contrast to the vascular plants, the gametophyte (haploid) generation of bryophytes constitutes the larger plant form, while the small sporophyte (diploid) generation grows on or within the gametophyte and depends upon it for nutrition.