Mosses are tiny, green, non-flowering plants found throughout the world. They form cushions just a few millimeters thick on walls, rocks and logs.
Unlike other plants they have no true roots. Instead, they take in moisture from the air through their stems and tiny, root-like threads called rhizoids.
Mosses reproduce from minute spores in two stages.
First tadpole-like male sex cells are made on bag-like stems called antheridia and swim to join the female eggs on cup-like stems called archegonia.
Then a stalk called a sporophyte grows from the ova. On top is a capsule holding thousands of spores.
When the time is right, the sporophyte capsule bursts, ejecting spores. If spores land in a suitable place, male and female stems grow and the process begins again.
The process involved in moss reproduction. Male sperm cells swim to join the female egg One sperm cell unites with the female egg cell The process begins again The fertilized egg grows into a sporophyte The sporophyte capsule bursts
Mosses grow in damp places everywhere. They need to be wet in order to reproduce.
Mosses can survive for weeks without water then soak it up like a sponge when it rains.
The sphagnum or peat moss can soak up 25 times its own weight of water.
Male cells can only swim to female cells if the moss is partly under water. So mosses often grow near streams where they get splashed with water.
Spanish moss was often used as filler in packing cases and to pad upholstery.