Cryptogam – UPSC Prelims

  • A cryptogam is a plant or a plant-like organism that reproduces by spores without flowers or seeds.
  • The term Cryptogamae means “hidden reproduction”, referring to the fact that no seed is produced. Thus, cryptogams represent the non-seed-bearing plants.
  • Cryptogamic plants include Algae, mosses, liverworts, lichens, ferns, and fungi
  • Why in news? India’s first cryptogamic garden housing nearly 50 species of lichens, ferns, and fungi was inaugurated in the Chakran Town of Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district.
Groups: The three major groups of Cryptogams are:
  • Thallophyta: Thallophyta is a division of the plant kingdom including primitive forms of plant life showing a simple plant body. They lack roots, stems, or leaves and are predominantly aquatic, both in marine and freshwater habitats. Examples: It includes algae-like Cladophora, Ulothrix, Spirogyra.
  • Bryophyta: Bryophytes include the various mosses and liverworts that are found commonly growing in moist, shaded areas in the hills. Bryophytes are also called amphibians of the plant kingdom because these plants can live in soil but are dependent on water for sexual reproduction. They play an important role in plant succession on bare rocks/soil.
  • Pteridophyta: The Pteridophytes include horsetails and ferns. Pteridophytes are used for medicinal purposes and as soil binders. They are also frequently grown as ornamentals. Evolutionarily, they are the first terrestrial plants to possess vascular tissues – xylem and phloem. The pteridophytes are found in cool, damp, shady places, though some may flourish well in sandy-soil conditions.
Other Types of Cryptogams:
  • Lichens: They are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus, and algae.
  • Fungi: It is a kingdom of usually multicellular eukaryotic organisms that are heterotrophs.
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