There are many different types of plants in our vicinity. Some plants are trees while some are herbs, bushes, creepers, etc. If we want to know about plants and their characteristics, it is necessary to understand the classification of plants. Kingdom Plantae is one of the five kingdoms of Whittaker’s classification. Kingdom Plantae can be subdivided into Thallophyta, Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, Gymnosperms and Angiosperms by considering their special and unique characteristics. Bryophytes are non-vascular small plants growing in moist and shady places. Mosses and liverworts are bryophytes. Pteridophytes are the first vascular plants. Ferns belong to Pteridophyta. Both mosses and ferns don’t produce seeds or flowers. Moreover, both mosses and ferns are primitive plants, unlike gymnosperms and angiosperms.
What are Mosses?
Mosses are bryophytes; small non-vascular plants and resemble lichens. They are primitive plants that grow in damp and shady places. Furthermore, they are photosynthetic plants, and there are many different moss species (at least 12,000 species).
Concerning their reproduction, mosses reproduce via spores, and they need water for the reproduction. They don’t produce seeds or flowers. Besides, mosses show alternation of generations. The dominant phase is the gametophyte generation. Also, they don’t have true stems, leaves or roots. But, they possess rhizoids instead of roots.
Mosses play an important role in regulating ecosystems. They provide an important buffer system for other plants. They are also very good indicators of habitat quality. Moreover, they can maintain soil moisture. In addition to that, they help in the recycling of the nutrients in forest vegetation.
What are Ferns?
Ferns are vascular plants belonging to group Pteridophyta. But, unlike other vascular plants, ferns do not produce seeds or flowers. Ferns produce spores in order to reproduce. Ferns possess true stems, leaves and roots. Moreover, they show alternation of generation. But the dominant phase of the life cycle is the diploid sporophyte generation. The gametophyte is a prothallus that is free-living, multicellular and photosynthetic. Some ferns have above-ground erect semi-woody trunks while some ferns have above-ground creeping stolons. One unique feature of ferns is that they show circinate vernation.
Ferns are grown as ornamental plants in domestic environments. They are also useful as medicines, biofertilizers and remediating contaminated soils.
What are the Similarities Between Mosses and Ferns?
- Both mosses and ferns are plants with primitive origins.
- They produce spores instead of seeds.
- They grow well in moist, shady locations.
- Many mosses and ferns may grow on other plants such as trees.
- Both mosses and ferns show alternation of generation.
- They depend on water for reproduction.
- They do not produce flowers as well.
What is the Difference Between Mosses and Ferns?
Mosses are small nonvascular spore-bearing land plants, while ferns are the first terrestrial vascular plants. So, this is the key difference between mosses and ferns. Mosses belong to phylum Bryophyta, while ferns belong to phylum Pteridophyta.
Moreover, mosses do not show differentiation of the plant body, while ferns show differentiation having true stems, leaves and roots in the plant body. Also, both mosses and ferns show alternation of generation. But, the dominant phase of the life cycle of mosses is the haploid gametophyte generation, while the dominant phase of the life cycle of ferns is the diploid sporophyte generation. Therefore, this is another important difference between mosses and ferns.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between mosses and ferns.
Summary – Mosses vs Ferns
Mosses are small spore-producing non-vascular primitive plants, while ferns are vascular plants. Furthermore, mosses do not posses true stems, leaves and roots, while ferns have a differentiated plant body into true stem, leaves and roots. Besides these, ferns show circinate vernation, unlike mosses. Also, the gametophyte is the dominant generation in mosses, while sporophyte is the dominant generation in ferns.
1. “RedMoss” By The original uploader was Vaelta at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Von.grzanka using CommonsHelper (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Epping Forest ferns, High Beach, Essex, England 1” By Acabashi – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia