Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm (0.4–4 in) tall, though some species are much larger, like Dawsonia, the tallest moss in the world which can grow to 50 cm in height. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems. At certain times mosses produce spore capsules which may appear as beak-like capsules borne aloft on thin stalks.
There are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in the Bryophyta. The division Bryophyta formerly included not only mosses, but also liverworts and hornworts. These other two groups of bryophytes now are often placed in their own divisions.
Famous quotes containing the word moss:
“Father, whom I murdered every night but one,
That one, when your death murdered me,”
—Howard Moss (b. 1922)
“What is this beast, she thought,
with muscles on his arms
like a bag of snakes?
What is this moss on his legs?
What prickly plant grows on his cheeks?
What is this voice as deep as a dog?”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)
“His life itself passes deeper in nature than the studies of the naturalist penetrate; himself a subject for the naturalist. The latter raises the moss and bark gently with his knife in search of insects; the former lays open logs to their core with his axe, and moss and bark fly far and wide. He gets his living by barking trees. Such a man has some right to fish, and I love to see nature carried out in him.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)