These vary in form, but essentially they consist of a stem of porcelain, coarse earthenware, glass or other non-conducting substance, protected by an overhanging roof or screen.
The Mosses and Liverworts include forms with a more or less leaf-like thallus, such as many of the liverworts, and forms in which the plant shows a differentiation into a stem bearing remarkably simple leaves, as in the true mosses.
One side of a stem may be more turgid than the opposite one, and the maximum turgidity, with its consequent growth, may alternate between two opposite sides.
The growing apex of such a stem will alternately incline, first to one side and then to the other, exhibiting a kind of nodding movement in the two directions.
The plant formation may be designated in technical language ph the termination -ion added to a stem denoting the habitat.