Mosses grow mainly in a humid environment – in forests, swamps, on the bark of trees, on stones. Mosses reproduce by spores, therefore they are classified as higher spore plants.
If the moss consists of a stem and leaves, then it is called leaf moss. One of the most famous green leafy mosses is the cuckoo flax. At the tops of the plants, small boxes are formed in which spores mature.
If the moss has no leaves, and the body is represented by a thallus, then it is called hepatic moss.
Mosses have no conductive tissue, they cannot conduct water and nutrients over a long distance, so they are small in stature. The function of the roots is performed by rhizoids – outgrowths with the help of which water and nutrients are absorbed.
Sphagnum moss dies off over time, compacted, and peat is formed. This process is very slow (a 1 meter layer of peat is formed over 1000 years). Peat is used as a fuel, as well as a fertilizer for improving the soil, a raw material for obtaining plastic, wood alcohol, and carbolic acid.
Forest moss prevents the rapid outflow of precipitation and melt water, which protects the soil from drying out. Moss provides refuge for small animals – molluscs, spiders, insects.
Often, mosses play a negative role in nature. Settling in forests and meadows, they form a continuous moss carpet and impede the flow of air into the soil. Under such conditions, valuable forage grasses are displaced and the soil is swamped.