A patch of moss showing both gametophytes (the low, leaf-like forms) and sporophytes (the tall, stalk-like forms)

The mosses, (Bryophyta sensu stricto), are divided into eight classes:

Six of the eight classes contain only one or two genera each. Polytrichopsida includes 23 genera, and Bryopsida includes the majority of moss diversity with over 95% of moss species belonging to this class.

Andreaeopsida and Andreaeobryopsida are distinguished by the biseriate (two rows of cells) rhizoids, multiseriate (many rows of cells) protonema, and sporangium that splits along longitudinal lines. Most mosses have capsules that open at the top.

The moss garden at the Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Washington State.

A passing fad for moss-collecting in the late 19th century led to the establishment of mosseries in many British and American gardens. The mossery is typically constructed out of slatted wood, with a flat roof, open to the north side (maintaining shade). Samples of moss were installed in the cracks between wood slats. The whole mossery would then be regularly moistened to maintain growth.

Preindustrial societies made use of the mosses growing in their areas.