Anthocerotophyta or Hornworts:
The hornworts or anthocerotes are a small group of bryophyte with about 100 species worldwide, 30 of which are found in Tropical America.
They are thallose and resemble thalloid hepatics ( ie. flattened liverworts).
At a cellular level, they have a single chloroplast per cell
Colonies of the cyanobacteria Nostoc associate with the thallus and are visible as black dots. What would you suspect they are exchanging? remember, the bluegreens can fix nitrogen.
The sporophyte or 2N stage you see standing upright to the left, is a spindle-shaped structure (hence the name hornworts), green (photosynthetic), lacks a seta and have a basal ( at the base) meristematic area instead of an apical cell at the tip. In other words they grow from below rather than from the top most portion.
Most hornworts grow in moist disturbed sites, mainly on soil but sometimes on rocks
Life cycles and features of the Bryophytes The liverworts Differences between the mosses and liverworts Return to introductory Bryophyte page