DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Moss spore capsule with operculum (Pyrrhobryum spiniforme), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Mosses primarily reproduce asexually by means of spores during the sporophyte life cycle stage. Spores are produced in spore capsules that are borne on thin stalks that grow from the plant-like thallus. The sporophyte is composed of a thin stalk, called a seta, and a capsule capped by an operculum. The capsule and operculum are in turn sheathed by a calyptra. Mosses are bryophytes, or non-vascular plants. They have clearly differentiated simple stems and leaves but lack deeply lobed or segmented leaves and the absence of leaves arranged in three ranks. Mosses have a gametophyte (dominant) life cycle (the plant's cells are haploid for most of its life cycle). The sporophyte stage (the diploid body stage) is short-lived and dependent on the gametophyte. They do not have flowers or seeds. Magnification: x30 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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