Welcome to Bryophyte Flora of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bryophytes are the first land plants, dating back 400 million years ago. They are classified into three divisions (Shaw and Goffinet, 2000): Marchantiophyta (liverworts), Anthocerotophyta (hornworts), and Bryophyta (mosses).
Bryophytes are small, non-vascular, non-flowering, and rootless plants. Morphologically, bryophytes can have either a stem and leaves or a thallus with a root-like structure, called rhizoids. Bryophytes normally grow in moist habitats, under variable temperatures, with a wide range of elevation. They can grow on soil, rocks, plants, and a few species live in fresh water. There are about 17,000-23,000 bryophytes in the world with remain unresolved names (Vanderpoorten & Goffinet, 2009). Among these, more than 280 genera and 1,000 species are known in Thailand (He, 2006 and Lai et al., 2008).
Due to the small size and low economic value of bryophytes, most people do not pay attention to them. Bryophytes have an important role in ecosystems, not only as natural beauty, decorating habitats, but also having a great holding capacity of water. Besides being primary producers in food webs (Figure 1) they also provide shelter and food for small animals, such as mites, spiders, millipedes, and small insects. Bryophytes growing on the ground are pioneer species (Figure 2) allowing higher plants to establish and help prevent soil erosion (Figure 3). They have been shown to be good natural indicators of habitats (Figure 4). Bryophytes are also used for gardening, landscaping, bonsai potting, aquarium plants, and moisture absorbing for pot plants. Some bryophytes, especially liverworts, have several chemical components, especially anti-pathogenic substances, that can be effective for drug development, e.g. antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral drugs (Asakawa, 2007)