The New Student's Reference Work/Cryptogams

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Cryp′togams. A name applied to all those plants which do not produce seeds, including therefore Pteridophytes (ferns, etc.), Bryophytes (mosses, etc.) and Thallophytes (Algæ and Fungi). The name was given under the impression that the sexual reproduction was hidden or obscure, when in fact it is more evident than in the seed-plants (Spermatophytes), which were called phanerogams, meaning “evident sexual reproduction.” The mistake arose from the false idea that the stamens and pistils of flowering plants are sex-organs. The name Cryptogam, however, is convenient, although meaningless. Since the Pteridophytes have woody vessels, they are often called vascular Cryptogams, to distinguish them from Bryophytes and Thallophytes, which are Cryptogams without woody vessels.