This animation was quickly constructed to prepare for science animation at the American Museum of
Natural History. It is also a holiday present for Prof. Larry "Mossy" Moss. The idea came
from a NYTimes.com article discussing the problems of wild moss harvesting for consumer use.
Click to watch a higher quality, more text-legible version of this movie (29 MB).
Because of the web encoding, the text is hard to read. So here it is again: Of all plants, moss
looks most like a carpet, but like most plants, moss is made up of stalks... thousands of tiny
stalks. At regular intervals depending on species and weathe, moss stalks (GAMETOPHYTES) prepare
to reproduce by sprouting male and female sexual structures. ANTHERIDIUM, the male structures, are
often marked by a flowering stalk tip. ARCHEGONIUM, the female structures, are usually
microscopically attached to the regular moss leaves. When ripe antheridium release sperm, wind
and rain help carry the sperm inside the archegonium. In the archegonium, the fertilized
egg becomes a ZYGOTE. Over the course of several days, the zygote grows into a SPOROPHYTE
that bursts from the archegonium. Like most growing plants, the sporophyte revolves as it
seeks the best light source. The tipe of the sporophyte is a CAPSULE covered by a protective
OPERCULUM (at the tip) and CALYPTRA (on the body). These protective coverings fall off when the
capsule is mature. Tooth-like structures on the end of the capsule called PERISTOME act like
a sieve that only open when the weather is dry. When the peristome is open, it releases tiny
SPORES that fall to the ground. If the ground conditions are good, a spore will grow into a
new stalk of moss!
Webography (visited December 2004):
The Hidden Forest
Plants In Motion
Moss and Fern Diversity
Beautiful Moss World!
Moss of Alaska: Photos
Ramage: September 2003
Virtual Plant Animations
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Time Lapse-Student Version
OPB NTTI: Bloom Where You're Planted?