To the left of the mushroom at the
center of the image is a small green plant, called lycopodium. Ancestors
of this lycopodium were once a dominant form of vegetation on earth, reaching
the size of trees.
The green lichen growing near the base
of this tree is actually a symbiotic relationship between two organisms,
an alga and a fungus. It is generally believed that the cells of
our bodies arose, evolutionarily, by symbiotic relationships between different
species of bacteria- yup, bacteria!
Mosses are interesting plants on the floor of the forest. They provide green coloration to the forest floor throughout the winter. Additionally, their reproductive structures called sporophytes, the stalked structures seen in the photo, vary in size and shape, depending on the species of moss. So both the green plant, the gametophyte, and the brownish (when mature) sporophyte provide interest on the floor of our eastern deciduous forests.
Most people in "this neck of the woods" are familiar with partridgeberry, with its green leaves and red berries (visible in the fall and winter). Many of the same people are not familiar with the flowers of partridgeberry, which are visible for only a short time in late spring.
Partridgeberry with red berries:
Partridgeberry in flower: