Bryophytes are mostly quite small green plants - the types of plants that most people would simply call mosses.
There are two types of plants which make up the Bryophyta group - mosses and liverworts.
The mosses and liverworts contribute greatly to the lush green appearance of the New Zealand bush, particularly in areas of high rainfall, such as Fiordland. But they can be found in any area, as long as there is some moisture at some stage of the year.
They drape themselves over old stumps and logs, cascade down rocks alongside streams, and cover the banks alongside tracks.
Some mosses are more tolerant of drier conditions than others, while others are found only in very damp places.
For information on how to tell if a "mossy" plant is a moss or a liverwort, click here.
For a very detailed ebook on bryophytes, go to:
Books on New Zealand mosses and liverworts:
The Mosses of New Zealand by Jessica Beever.
The Liverworts of New Zealand by K W Allison and John Childs
Long out of print, but I've seen it occasionally second-hand on-line.
Mosses and Other Bryophytes - an Illustrated Glossary by Bill and Nancy Malcolm
Now in its second edition. A wonderful book!