Similarities Between Bryophytes and Thallophytes

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Bryophytes are the amphibians of the plant world. They resemble Thallophytes in many ways and they are the precursors of the Pteridophytes. In Greek, Bryon means ‘moss’ and Phyton means ‘plant’ and hence they are generally termed as mosses, liverworts or hornworts or collectively as mosses.

Liverwort - Bryophyte

Liverwort – Bryophyte (Photo: Li Zhang)

Thallophytes are the algae of the plant world. Thought aquatic in nature, they show the following similarities. Some of the similarities of Bryophytes to Thallophytes are discussed below. It goes a long way to show the lineage of plants or the evolution of plants from its earliest forms.

Orange Lichen - Thallophyte

Orange Lichen – Thallophyte (Photo: antarctica-info.weebly.com)

  • In both, Thallophytes and Bryophytes, the plant body is thalloid, ie., despite the fact that Thallophytes are single celled and Bryophytes are multi-celled, the plant body is ribbon-like, and dichotomously branching, ie. the parent plant branches into two at the ends / apical region.
  • Both Divisions, Thallophyta and Bryophyta, are able to synthesize their own food from light or chemical energy, making them autotrophs or autotrophic in nature.
  • The many chloroplast pigments like Chlorophyll a, b, A, B, Carotenoid, Violaxantin, Xeaxantin and Leutin are similar in both Divisions.
  • Vascular tissues are absent. (Vascular tissues are tissues like xylem and phloem which are found in higher plants. They help in the conduction of food and water through the complex plant body of higher plants.)
  • Reserve food material is starch. (In higher plants, the food that is stored may be in the form of carbohydrates, fats, oils, etc. )
  • Roots, as seen in higher plants, are absent in both Thallophytes and Bryophytes.
  • Cellulose is the chief component of the cell wall in both.
  • The gametophyte (parent plant body / thalli) represent the dominant phase of the life cycle.
  • Spermatozoids are flagellated and motile; the flagella being whiplash type.
  • Fertilization takes place in the presence of water.
  • Earliest stages of thalli growth of both algae and mosses resemble each other, especially in the formation of the filamentous thallus.

These above stated similarities go to show that there is strong evidence that Bryophytes are related to Thallophytes and originate from them. The differences between the two may be seen in “Differences between thallophytes and bryophytes” which show how Bryophytes have evolved even further to give rise to the higher group of plants called the Pteridophytes.

Amanda Dcosta

Amanda writes about botany and plants from the deserts of Oman where summer temperatures climb to 130 Fahrenheit. Amanda has a BSc in Botany and is a co-author of Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia. Read more articles by Amanda.

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