Mosses and Liverworts
Mosses and liverworts are in the oldest group of true plants; this group is called the Bryophytes. Liverworts are thought to be the oldest at around 500 millions years old. They were on the earth before other plants like grass, ferns, cacti and trees.
Mosses and Liverworts are small plants that live close to ground they do not have true roots like other plants but instead they have rhizomes. Rhizomes are spreading stems that pop up next to the plant that grow new leaves and make the plant bigger.
You can see this when you find moss growing on a rock, it sticks to it like a carpet rather than growing down like a tree root. They like to live in warm, moist and humid environments and are commonly found in shaded woodlands.
Mosses and liverworts are very important in the natural world. Liverworts are important to the banks of rivers as they help to stop erosion. Erosion is a major problem, once the sediment of the bank goes into the river it starts clogs the plants up so they cannot produce as much oxygen for the insects and fish. This creates an unhealthy place for creatures and plants to live in.
Mosses are used for their antibacterial properties. Moss was collected on Dartmoor in Devon during the Second World War; this was then sent to the soldiers to help healwounds. Sphagnum Moss is also used for a medium to grow plants in just like soil. In some countries it is also used to make bread whilst in others to extinguish fires. Sphagnum Moss plays a big part in forming peat bogs a very important natural ecosystem.
Did you know that Sphagnum Moss can hold up to twenty times its own weight in water?