In the light of what has been said about flowers it may well be questioned how anything can be a plant and still have no flower. The fact is that flowers as we commonly understand them are unknown in the plants about to be discussed, but that what corresponds to a flower, and performs the function of a flower all plants must and do have. In the case of most flowering plants the possession of flowers is one of the beauties of nature in its most resplendent mood, while in the so-called flowerless plants the functions of flowers are performed by tiny microscopic organs, even the existence of which has been only recently discovered. Because flowering plants produce their sexual organs in such a gorgeous setting, for all the world to see their matings they have been called phanerogams, which means literally visible marriage, while the flowerless plants which perform similar functions in more secret ways are called cryptogams, meaning hidden marriage.
These cryptogams or flowerless plants occur in far greater numbers in the world than flowering plants, but their size in most cases is very much less. Many individuals are so small, as in the case of bacteria, that a single one can only be seen after it has been magnified many hundreds of times by the microscope.