In this article we will discuss about the morphology of funaria with the help of a suitable diagram.
A common moss, Funaria is widely distributed in temperate as well as tropical regions of the world. One of its species F. hygrometrica, is cosmopolitan and best known. It is a terrestrial plant growing in close tufts and is one of the pioneers to colonize freshly burnt forest land. It also occurs on moist rocks. In India, F. hygrometrica is a common moss of hilly tracks and mountains. It is also found on moist soil of garden beds, and in crevices on walls of old abandoned buildings.
The plant body is a leafy gametophyte (Fig. 4.1 A, B) about 1-3 cm high, consisting of an erect axis (stem) covered with small, simple and sessile leaves. The stem is branched monopodially, a branch originates below a leaf. At the base of the stem there are numerous branched rhizoids (Fig. 4.1 A) which serve for anchorage and absorption.
A leaf (Fig. 4.1C) is ovate with a pointed apex, broad base and an entire margin. It is attached to the stem by its broad base and the leaves are arranged in three rows in spiral succession. Leaves are closely placed towards apical region of the plant and are widely spaced in the basal region.
The leaves at the base are not very regular in shape. A leaf is uni-stratose except at the middle where it forms a distinct midrib or costa. The marginal cells of leaf towards the apex tend to project, giving it a dentate appearance.
The rhizoids are branched and re-branched. The main strand arising from the stem is a relatively stout structure. It grows into the soil up to a distance of about 1 cm and helps to fix the plant. From the main strand arise lateral branches of finer dimension.
These branches in turn branch to form tertiary branches of yet finer dimension. The entire rhizoidal system is filamentous, consisting of cells with oblique transverse septa and brown walls. The cells contain oil and leucoplasts which turn green on exposure to light.
Growth of the plant takes place by the activity of an apical cell with three cutting faces.