Main distinction – Mosses vs Ferns

Mosses and ferns are two species of primitive plants. Mosses belong come the phylum Bryophyta vice versa, ferns belong to the phylum Pteridophyta. Both mosses and ferns space non-flowering, seedless plants. Ferns are much more developed plants 보다 mosses. The key difference in between mosses and ferns is that mosses are non-vascular plants whereas ferns space vascular plants. Furthermore, the plant human body of ferns is differentiated into true leaves, stem, and also roots. In contrast, the plant human body of mosses consists of less distinguished leaflets. Mosses mostly flourish in wet, shady environments. But, ferns are adapted to thrive in dry atmospheres as well. Mosses are few centimeters tall while ferns deserve to grow higher than 4.5 m.

You are watching: Compare and contrast the characteristics of mosses and ferns

Key locations Covered

1. What are Mosses – Definition, Characteristics, Lifecycle 2. What are Ferns – Definition, Characteristics, Lifecycle 3. What room the Similarities in between Mosses and Ferns – summary of usual Features 4. What is the Difference between Mosses and Ferns – comparison of crucial Differences

Key Terms: Bryophyta, Ferns, Gametophyte, Mosses, Non-Flowering plants, Non-Vascular Plants, Primitive Plants, Pteridophyta, Seedless Plants, Sporophyte, Vascular Plants


What are Mosses

Mosses room a kind of non-vascular tree that create spores in capsules. They space classified under the tree phylum Bryophyta. Mosses room very similar to irpari liverworts. They experience alterations the generations through a influential gametophyte. The sporophyte appears on the gametophyte. The spores are created in the capsule hosted by a stalk. The germination the spores produce a protonema, i beg your pardon is a filamentous structure. The protonema gives rise come one or an ext stems, i beg your pardon then build into gametophytes. The gametophytes of the mosses are leafy-stemmed structures. Since the trunk of mosses room weak, the plants are unable to flourish for much more than one centimeter. However, part mosses can grow up come 60 centimeters v free-standing stems. Part mosses contain highly branched stems. The leaf-like structures construct in a spiral plan along the stem.


Figure 1: Lifecycle of a Moss

The mosses contain root-like structures dubbed rhizoids. This rhizoids room multicellular and attach the plant to the substrate and absorb water indigenous the soil. Mosses develop male and female gametophytes separately. The masculine gametes are created in the antheridia vice versa, the female gametes are created in the archegonia. The acrocarpous mosses create archegonia in ~ the reminder of the main stem vice versa, the pleurocarpous mosses develop archegonia ~ above side-shoots. The fertilized eggs on the female gametophyte create the sporophyte. The common life bike of a moss is shown in figure 1.

What room Ferns

Ferns are flowerless, vascular tree that mainly reproduce through the production of spores. They room classified under the tree phylum Pteridophyta. Ferns additionally undergo the alterations that generations. The sporophyte is significant over the gametophyte in ferns. The sporophyte is identified into true leaves, stem, and also root. The pipeline of ferns are referred to as fronds. The fronds covers branched vein systems. That method ferns are vascular plants. The young pipeline of the ferns are rolled. The dimension of ferns have the right to vary from couple of millimeters to 10 to 25 meters. Some ferns space terrestrial, and also others have the right to be found floating top top ponds. The spores the the ferns are created underside that the fronds.


Figure 2: Lifecycle that a Fern

The germination that spores produces a heart-shaped gametophyte through both male and also female gametophytes current in the exact same structure. This enables self-fertilization, which is an ext successful in dry conditions due to the fact that the distance to take trip by the sperm cells is less. The fertilization to produce a new sporophyte ~ above the gametophyte. The usual life bicycle of a fern is presented in figure 2

Similarities in between Mosses and also Ferns

Mosses and ferns room primitive plants.Both mosses and also ferns have the right to be uncovered in wet, shady locations, cohabiting through each other.Many mosses and ferns thrive on other greater plants.Both mosses and also ferns room not helminth plants and also produce their own food v photosynthesis.Both mosses and also ferns space non-vascular and also seedless plants.Both mosses and ferns experience alterations that generations.Both mosses and ferns room spore developing plants.Both mosses and ferns protect against soil erosion.

Difference in between Mosses and also Ferns


Mosses: Mosses are small, nonvascular plants that carry out not have a true root, stem, and also leaves and also reproduce through the production of spores in stalked capsules.

Ferns: Ferns are flowerless, vascular plants with leafy fronds that greatly reproduce by the production of spores.

Belong to

Mosses: Mosses belong come the phylum Bryophyta.

Ferns: Ferns belong come the phylum Pteridophyta.

Vascular/Non-vascular Plants

Mosses: Mosses are non-vascular plants.

Ferns: Ferns are vascular plants.


Mosses: Mosses covers a the majority of leaflets.

Ferns: Ferns consist of true leaves and also stems.


Mosses: Mosses contains multicellular rhizoids.

Ferns: Ferns includes true roots.


Mosses: Mosses prosper up to numerous centimeters.

Ferns: Ferns thrive up come 4.5 m.


Mosses: In mosses, the sporophyte relies on the gametophyte.

Ferns: In ferns, the gametophyte relies on the sporophyte.


Mosses: Mosses covers male and female gametophytes separately.

Ferns: Ferns save on computer both male and female gametophytes in the exact same structure.


Mosses: Mosses produce spores in the capsules, i beg your pardon are connected to the gametophytes through stalks.

Ferns: Ferns develop spores as clusters underneath the leaves.


Mosses: Common hair lid moss, prickly sphagnum, limpr, and club mosses room some instances of mosses.

Ferns: Bracken, silver cloak fern, fishbone fern, leatherleaf fern, and also cinnamon fern room some examples of ferns.


Mosses and ferns space two types of primitive plants. Both plants space non-flowering plants. Therefore, both that them are seedless plants as well. Both mosses and ferns undergo alterations of generations. That method both room spore-producing plants. The gametophyte is prominent is mosses, yet the sporophyte is significant in ferns. The sporophyte that ferns is differentiated into true leaves, stem, and also roots. In contrast, mosses absence true leaves, stem or roots. Ferns space vascular plants, however mosses space not. The main difference between mosses and ferns is the existence or absence of a vascular system.

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1.“What is a moss?” What is a moss – bryophyte, accessible here. Accessed 24 Aug. 2017. 2.“Fern.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., available here. Accessed 24 Aug. 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Lifecycle moss svg diagram” by LadyofHats – Own occupational (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 2. “Figure 11 02 03” by CNX OpenStax – (CC by 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia