Difference Between Liverworts and Mosses

Typically observed in non-flowering and non-vascular plants, liverworts and mosses harbour in terrestrial and wet habitats. However, there are many factors that set them apart, for instance the division each belongs to, while liverwort belongs to Marchantiophyta, mosses are categorized under Bryophyta.

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Mosses are simple in structure, tiny and leafy arrangements found around the thallus exhibiting radial or spiral symmetry. Liverworts, on the other hand, have foliose and thallus which are green-leaf like arrangements attached to the stem.
These non-vascular plants are distinguished as very small plants lacking the functionality exhibited as seen in advanced plant forms as there is absence of a transportation system for gaseous exchange and transport of other materials and water.


  • They are flattened plant structures found in the top layer of soil, rocks, mountains and also on other plants
  • Liverwort is different from other typical plants in having a single layer of cells. Another varying factor is the absence of stomata.
  • They can be thalloid or leafy. While leafy are in their simplest forms, thalloids ae complex in having multiple thick layers of thallus
  • The sporophyte stage takes place for a shorter time frame while the dominant phase is the gametophyte


  • Mosses are found in wet environments such as wetlands, rainforest amd alpine
  • They have rhizoids giving rise to spores
  • They are classified under the “Bryophyta” division
  • Here the gametophyte phase is longer and is dominant over the sporophytic generation wherein gametophytes produce source for water and nutrition
Also see: Bryophytes: Classification, Characteristics and Economic Importance

Difference Between Liverworts and mosses

Listed below are some differences between liverworts and mosses:

Liverworts Mosses
Thallus that is dichotomously branched or lobed which is dorsoventrally flattened Similar in structure to the thallus or the stem which is leafy exhibiting radial or spiral symmetry
Arrangement of leaves
Flattened pattern forms 2-3 rows exhibited by liverworts similar to the structure of leaves. Structure resembles that of leaves of mosses displaying whorl or spiral pattern type
Linked to the division ‘Marchantiophyta’ Linked to the division ‘Bryophyta’.
Riccia, Porella, and Marchantia Polytrichum, Funaria and Sphagnum
Typically dichotomous Lateral and extra-axillary.
Scales or amphigastria
May be present Absent
Green tissue in the sporangium
Present, very little Present in sufficient quantities causing it to be semi-independent.
Peristome teeth
Absent Found towards the apical region of the capsule
Protonema stage
Absent A filamentous protonema takes place

These were differences between liverworts and mosses. Visit BYJU’S for other differences important for NEET.

Related Links:

Difference Between Stems and Roots
Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi

Watch this video for a better understanding of the classification of plants.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the similarity between mosses, liverworts and hornworts?

Mosses, liverworts and hornworts are non-vascular plants that have a haploid gametophyte as the dominant stage in their life cycle.


What is the difference between the rhizoids of liverworts and mosses?

Mosses have threadlike rhizoids that help them in anchoring to their substrate whereas liverworts have a single celled rhizoid.


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