bryo·​phyte ˈbrī-ə-ˌfīt How to pronounce bryophyte (audio)
: any of a division (Bryophyta) of nonflowering plants comprising the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts
bryophytic adjective

Examples of bryophyte in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Moss is a special type of plant called a bryophyte. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 17 Apr. 2024 Along with their cousins liverworts and hornworts, they are known as bryophytes. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 28 Feb. 2023 Surprisingly, the team identified 75 different species of bryophytes, including 10 types of liverworts, according to a press release. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 1 Nov. 2019 Researchers from the University of Glasgow and the University of Innsbruck recovered at least 75 species of bryophytes, non-vascular plants such as mosses and liverworts, that had been preserved in ice with Otzi. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 31 Oct. 2019 Around 70 percent of the bryophyte species found in and around Ötzi's high-altitude remains do not grow in the nival zone, the highest region of alpine vegetation which starts around 9,850 feet in this part of the Alps. Megan Gannon, National Geographic, 30 Oct. 2019 Anthocerotae Anthocerotae, also known as hornworts, are the third type of bryophyte. Kevin Espiritu For, Good Housekeeping, 29 Aug. 2017 Oishi said humid cities where moss thrives could benefit most from using bryophytes – a collective term for mosses, hornworts and liverworts – as bioindicators, adding moss could be monitored in its natural environment or cultivated for analysis. Sophie Hares, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bryophyte.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


bryo- + -phyte, after New Latin Bryophyta, phylum name

Note: The taxon Bryophyta was introduced by the German botanist Alexander Braun (1805-77) as a contribution to Paul Ascherson's Flora der Provinz Brandenburg, der Altmark und des Herzogthums Magdeburg, 1. Abtheilung (Berlin, 1864), p. 22. Though the bryo- in Bryophyta can be taken as a reference to mosses, the specific etymology given by Braun refers to a Greek verb rather than a noun: "Von βρύω, sprossen, keimen, u. φύτον, Pfl., weil die Generation, welche die ganze vegetative Entwicklung repräsentirt, dem Keime der höheren Gewächse entspricht." ("From brýō, to put forth shoots, sprout, and phýton, plant, because the generative process, which represents the entire vegetative development, corresponds to the embryo of higher plants.")

First Known Use

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bryophyte was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near bryophyte

Cite this Entry

“Bryophyte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: any of a division of nonflowering green plants comprising the mosses and liverworts

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