MOSS

The bryophytes inhabit all continents; there are Arctic and Antarctic, equatorial and typical of the temperate, desert and aquatic, rupicolous and corticícolas, terrícolas and fimícolas. Although they are never parasites, bryophytes can be harmful both to herbaceous plants, when they cover, for example, with dense tangle the grassland, as for trees, when they cover the lenticels of the bark, hindering the exchange of air and humidity.

By adapting easily, the bryophytes conquer, with microscopic exits and lichens, high alpine rocks, deserts, dunes, motile terrains, sand, bark, and even artificial walls. They also live in sterile conditions in the caves, even where light is reduced to a thousandth of the light outside.

Each type of rock and soil has its mosses and liverworts. Amongst the mosses, there are those who prefer calcareous stalactites and stalagmites, where they are embedded (Eucladium verticillatum, Cratoneurum commutatum), retaining calcium carbonate and gradually forming spongy, solid masses and stone (travertine).

p> Among the aquatic bryophytes, sphagnum species (the species of the genus Sphagnum), the classic inhabitants of peat bogs, are important, due to the formation of peat, together with associations of marshy plants. Some of the mosses that have been spoken are also aquatic, such as the species of the genus Fontinalis, floating but ingrained, or Thamnium lemani, which lives 60 meters deep in Lake Geneva, on the erratic limestone. There are also liverworts, among which there are some species of the genus Riccia and Ricciella that swim freely on the surface of the ponds. There are no marine bryophytes, although some resist salinity well, living on the coastal dunes.

The phytochenosis characterized by bryophytes are numerous. Examples include: Sphagnetum, Mugosphagnetum (Pines et al., Potsetum hylocomiosum) (red spruce forests with Hylocomium splendens and other pleurocarpal mosses such as Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus and Pleurozium schreberi).

of the bryophytes for the human being is almost null or almost null. Only the so-called brush moss (Polytrichum frmosum) is used to make rudimentary brushes and brushes. Mosses, and still more sphagnum, are used as insulating anti-humidity packaging for the dispatch of live plants, bulbs, rhizomes and tubers; and peat is used, light, porous and homogeneous material, as thermal and acoustic insulation and for diverse protections. Also important is the use of mosses, and even more the use of sphagnum, as a means of cultivating higher plants, because thanks to their light weight and great capacity to retain water are ideal substrates for crops in greenhouses and pots; a particular and very fashionable case is the cultivation of bonsai. In addition, from the mosses extract perfumery essences and natural fixatives of the aromas. On the other hand, research is being carried out to find out if some substances contained in bryophytes have antibiotic or bacteriostatic function.

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