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Difference between vascular and non-vascular plants

In this AgroCorrn article we want to show you what vascular and non-vascular plants are , so that you can increase your concepts of basic botany and, incidentally, learn a little more about the plants that surround us and coexist with us day by day.

The answer to this simple question and others that may have arisen about this simple classification of plants, we will answer them quickly and with clear examples so that you can classify them all at a single glance. Read on and learn what is the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants .

What are vascular plants and examples

Those commonly known as tracheophytes or cormophytes and belonging to the Tracheophyta group, are what we generally know as vascular plants. One of the main characteristics of vascular plants is that they have conductive and structural tissues designed to give them better support and energy input for their development. Thanks to this we can answer the question: what does it mean for a plant to be vascular? Well, it is one that has evolved structures to achieve optimal growth. Likewise, they are also called higher plantsdue to this reason. In the vast majority of cases, vascular plants present their parts differently. We talk about the root , stem , leaves , flowers and fruits . Therefore, it is very likely that the vast majority of the plants that surround you and you know are part of this classification.

Below, we have made a simple classification with some examples of vascular plants so that it is much easier for you to differentiate them from each other and to know part of their main characteristics.

  • In the first place are the plants that belong to the group of filicinea . These belong to one of the first groups of plants that populated the planet. In fact, they do not produce flowers, so their reproduction occurs through spores . Here we can answer your questions as to whether ferns are vascular plants or not: yes, ferns are vascular plants. These very particular plants always need very humid climates to grow and reproduce, hence they have a great ornamental value due to their exotic point.
  • Vascular plants are divided into two large groups, the angiosperms and the gymnosperms . In the case of angiosperm plants, we speak of plants whose reproductive system is protected, have true flowers and produce fruits and seeds. Within the angiosperms there is a subdivision: monocots and dicots. Some examples of monocots are the tulip or gladiolus. And in the case of dicotyledons we have plants such as the orange tree, the carob tree or the tobacco plant.
  • The group of gymnosperms includes those that produce true flowers, but do not protect their sexual organs. These usually enclose the seeds in an envelope called a samara. This is very light and has a wing shape so that it can be easily dispersed by the natural action of the wind. An example of this type of plant is the Cercis siliquastrum or tree of love. Here you can learn more about the Difference between angiosperm plants and gymnosperm plants .

To further expand your knowledge on this topic, we encourage you to read these other articles on Vascular Plants: what they are, characteristics and examples and Tracheophytes: what they are, classification, characteristics and examples .

What are non-vascular plants and examples

Also known as bryophytes , non-vascular plants, in general, are characterized by not having a vascular system, that is, they do not have xylem and phloem . Hence the question arises: what is the circulation like in non-vascular plants? The answer is simple: non-vascular plants, due to the lack of roots, stems, leaves and flowers, are much more primitive and are made up of simpler structures that are responsible for transporting water through the so-called poikilohydrics.. These absorb water directly from the atmosphere that surrounds the plant while moving it through the body. In fact, due to their small size, they are one of the most complex botanical groups when conducting studies. That does not mean that you can also find them in almost all parts of the world, from desert areas to mountains or sea level. Non-vascular plants are divided into three groups: mosses, hornworts, and liverworts.

  • Mosses are plants that are characterized by anchoring to the ground and giving support to other larger plants thanks to the rhizoids; some primitive structures typical of bryophytes . Mosses prefer high areas with a high level of humidity to develop. However, depending on the species, they can develop both in the shade and in sunlight.
  • In the case of hornworts , also known as hornworts because of their horn-like shape, they also tend to grow in humid areas, preferably in the shade. A the hornworts or antoceros also known as sporophytes.
  • Liver plants , unlike mosses, do not have structures with which to improve their grip on the ground. In fact, liver plants absorb water and nutrients directly from where they grow. As a curious fact, this type of non-vascular plants can reach up to 20 cm in diameter and include species capable of developing in more arid areas.

Here you can learn more about non-vascular plants: what they are, characteristics and examples .

Main differences between vascular and non-vascular plants

What is the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants ?

  • The vascular plants have complex tissues conductors and structural that give the plant a base with which grow more optimally, while the nonvascular plants absorb water directly from the atmosphere and lack these tissues to support growth of hence its reduced size.
  • Therefore, the biggest difference between vascular and non-vascular plants at first glance lies in their appearance. Vascular plants are the only ones that have stem, leaves, flowers and fruits.
  • Vascular plants have as one of their main functions being the food base of most living beings, while non-vascular plants are mainly responsible for regulating the humidity level of the environment where they reside.
  • Vascular plants can reproduce both by seeds and by spores, however, in the case of non-vascular plants these can only reproduce by spores under favorable conditions.
  • Non-vascular plants do not usually stand out from the rest of the species due to their small size, while vascular plants occur in nature with different shapes, colors and heights, they can even exceed 100 meters.

Here you can see, as a summary, a comparative table between vascular and non-vascular plants.

Similarity between vascular and non-vascular plants

What basically vascular and non-vascular plants have in common is that they both need sunlight to carry out the process known as photosynthesis , through which the plant synthesizes food, such as mineral salts, as well as water and other elements to obtain the energy necessary to grow and reproduce.

Here you can learn more about what photosynthesis is, its process and importance . We also recommend you read this other post on What plants need to live .

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