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Mosses



Mosses
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.24

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bryologists, bryology, bryophytes, rhizoids, fens, electronic, peat, weevil, tramp, primitive, region, stems, wounds, believe, wherever, million
     content words:    North America, North Pole, New Guinea, In World War, Some American Indians, In Ireland, New York Botanical Garden, United States, British Bryological Society


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Mosses
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Scientists believe that about 300 million years ago in the Paleozoic Era, mosses covered large areas of North America and northern Europe. This was also the time period when cockroaches and reptiles first appeared. It was also the time when most of today's coal and oil was formed. It was long before the dinosaurs.
 
2     What are mosses? Mosses are part of a group of primitive plants called bryophytes. They are called primitive because they go way back to the Paleozoic Era, and also because they do not have the same structures as more modern plants. Mosses do not have real roots. Instead they have structures called rhizoids that may be only one cell thick, only a fraction of the thickness of a hair or a piece of thread. Mosses also do not have a system to transport water up their stems like other plants do. So mosses are usually small and low to the ground. They do have stems and leaves.
 
3     Mosses grow close together in a group. A mat of moss on a forest floor may actually be made up of thousands of tiny plants. Usually moss prefers damp, shady places, but not always. In addition to forest floors, moss also grows on rocks, tree bark, and walls. It grows in marshes, bogs, mires, fens, and on sand dunes. Sometimes moss grows in shallow lakes or streams. Moss grows in all parts of the world, from tropical rainforests in Africa to Antarctica and the arctic region around the North Pole. All together there are over 9,000 different species of mosses.

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