What Is a Sporophyte?

A sporophyte is a plant or alga in its diploid multicellular stage of life that produces spores. Each sporophyte has a double set of chromosomes, one from its haploid egg cell and another from its haploid sperm. The resulting fertilization produces a zygote from which the sporophyte develops. Most land plants, as well as many algae plants, are sporophytes.

The spores that the sporophyte produces are asexual. In order to survive, the spores must produce these gametophytes by way of meiosis. These gametophytes are also asexual with one set of homologous chromosomes. According to Reference.com, the sporophyte is an important feature of a plant life cycle; the spores produced by the sporophytes develop into gametophytes, which will produce male and female gametes that reproduce with its opposite gamete to produce a zygote. This zygote will in turn develop into another sporophyte. A sporophyte's life span varies, depending on the plant. In mosses, they are relatively long-lived, and they live even longer in seed plants. They are easily visible as shapes similar to capsules with plant stems, and an embryo sporophyte is visible in an opened seed often in a cone-like shape. Depending on the type of moss, the sporophytes on moss are more covert, but they are rounder and less distinctly shaped than their seed plant counterparts.