The gametophyte is a small thalloid structure which shows varying degrees of independence affording an interesting transition to the next group.
The male gametophyte is represented by one or few cells and, except in a few primitive forms where the male cell still retains the motile character as in the Pteridophyta, is carried passively to the macrospore in a development of the pollen grain, the pollen tube.
The independent plant which is generally attached to the soil by hair-like structures is the sexual generation, the sporophyte is a stalked or sessile capsule which remains always attached to the gametophyte from which it derives the whole or part of its nourishment.
The male gametophyte is sometimes represented by a transitory prothallial cell;, the two male cells are carried passively down into the ovary and into the mouth of the ovule by means of the pollen-tube.
The female gametophyte is extremely reduced; there is a sexual apparatus of naked cells, one of which is the egg-cell which, after fusion with a male cell, divides to form a large siispensorial cell and a terminal embryo.