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|A thallose liverwort, Lunularia cruciata|
Non-vascular plants is a general term for those plants without a vascular system (xylem and phloem). Although non-vascular plants do not have these particular tissues, a number of them possess other tissues specialized for internal transport of water.
The term non-vascular plant is no longer used in scientific . Non-vascular plants include two distantly related groups:
- The Bryophyta (mosses), the Marchantiophyta (liverworts), and the Anthocerotophyta (hornworts). Because these plants have no water-conducting tissues, they have not the structural complexity and size of most vascular plants either.
- Algae - especially the green algae. Recent studies have demonstrated that the algae actually consist of several unrelated groups. It turns out that common features of living in water and photosynthesis were misleading as indicators of close relationship. Only the green algae are still considered relatives of the plants.
In the past, the term non-vascular plant included all the algae, but also the fungi as well. Today, it is recognized that these groups are not closely related to plants, and have a very different biology.
- (including the green algae)