The mosses are generally divided into three orders, with the order Bryales most prominent. It is now believed that the bryophytes descended from green algae by way of now extinct ancestors (the Rhyniophyta). The bryophytes are important because they are pioneer plants and soil builders on surfaces lacking other vegetation. Sphagnum moss (order Sphagnales) has been economically important as packing material and as peat.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.