14 Major Difference Between Vascular And Non-vascular Plants With Examples

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What Are Vascular Plants?

Vascular plants, also known as tracheophytes, from a large group of plants that are described as plants that have specialized vascular tissues (Xylem and Phloem) for conducting water, minerals and products of photosynthesis throughout the plant. The xylem, is made mostly of the structural protein lignin and dead cells, specializes in transporting water and minerals from the roots to the leaves. A vascular plant does this by creating a pressure on the water on multiple fronts.

Just like other plants, Vascular plants exhibit alternation of generation. This means that there are two forms of the plant, the sporophyte and the gametophyte. The sporophyte, a diploid organism, goes through meiosis to produce the haploid spore. The spore grows into a new organism, the gametophyte. The gametophyte is responsible for producing gametes, capable of fusing together during sexual reproduction.

Examples of vascular plants include:

  • Clubmosses
  • Grasses
  • Sunflower
  • Pines
  • Horsetails
  • True ferns
  • Angiosperms
  • Gymnosperms.
Sunflower: An Example Of Vascular Plant

Facts About Vascular Plants

  • Vascular plants are green plants with true leaves, stems and roots
  • The plants have a vascular system containing the xylem and phloem for water, minerals and food transport to all parts of the plant.
  • Vascular plants bear fruits and flowers.
  • Vascular plants are larger in size due to presence of a vascular system (phloem and xylem).
  • Roots of the vascular plants are specialized to absorb water passively in the absence of transpiration pull through osmosis.
  • Vascular plants have deep root system which supports the plant and help to absorb nutrients.
  • In vascular plants, the specialized vascular tissues are arranged in unique patterns, depending on the division and species the vascular plant belongs to.
  • The principal generation phase of vascular plants is sporophyte. The sporophyte is normally large, dormant and nutritionally independent stage.
  • In generation phase of vascular plants, the sporophyte is diploid, bearing two seats of chromosomes per cell.
  • In vascular plants, there much differentiation between the different cells.
  • Vascular plants have a well developed stem or shoot system which protects the plant, help in exchange of gases and photosynthesis.
  • Vascular plants reproduce via seeds.
  • A leaf of vascular plants has cuticles and stomata which prevent desiccation and facilitate gaseous exchange respectively.
  • Vascular plants commonly grow in everywhere.
  • As opposed to a non-vascular plant, a vascular plant can grow much larger.

What Are Non-vascular Plants?

Non-vascular plants are plants without a vascular system (phloem and Xylem) for conducting water and minerals throughout the plant system. Although non-vascular plants lack phloem and xylem tissues, many possess simpler tissues that are specialized for internal transport of water.

Non-vascular plants are bryophytes. They not only lack vascular tissues but they also lack true leaves, seeds and flowers. Instead of roots, they have hair-like rhizoids to anchor them to the ground and to absorb water and minerals.

As opposed to a vascular plant, non-vascular plants are generally small because of the following two reasons: First, their lack of vascular tissue limits their ability to transport water internally, restricting the size they can reach before their outmost portions dry out. They also do have cuticles which blocks some water loss with stomata for gaseous exchange. Secondly, they exhibit alternation of generations, involving separate plant forms.

Non-vascular plants also undergo alternation of generation life cycle. In this cycle, a gametophyte gives rise to gametes. The gametophyte is a haploid organism, containing only one set of DNA. The gametes, therefore, are produced via mitosis. When these gametes fuse, they create a zygote, which is a new diploid organism. This zygote will grow up into the sporophyte generation.

Examples of non-vascular plants include:

  • Bryophyte
  • Mosses
  • Green algae
  • Liverworts
  • Hornworts
Liverwort; An Example of Non-vascular Plant

Facts About Non-vascular Plants

  • Non-vascular plants are short plants with poorly developed roots and stem. 
  • Plants do not have a vascular system for water, minerals and food transport. 
  • Non vascular plants do not bear fruits and flowers, mainly they are wood.
  • Non-vascular plants are relatively smaller in size when compared to non-vascular plants.
  • Non vascular plants depend solely on osmosis and diffusion to absorb water passively.
  • Non-vascular plants have rhizoids (small shallow roots to support the plant.
  • In non-vascular plants, the principal generation phase is gametophyte. The gametophyte makes its own food through photosynthesis.
  • In the generation phase of non-vascular plants, the gametophyte is haploid, bearing only one set of chromosomes per cell.
  • In non-vascular plants, there is little to no differentiation between the different cells.
  • In non-vascular plants true stems are largely absent.
  • Non-vascular plants reproduce via spores.
  • In non-vascular plants, true leaves are absent and that the plants do not have specialized tissues like dermal tissue to resist water loss or to facilitate gaseous exchange.
  • Non-vascular plants are specified to grow in swampy, marshy, shady and moist places.
  • As opposed to a vascular plant, non-vascular plants are generally small.

Also Read: Difference Between Phloem And Xylem

Difference Between Vascular And Nonvascular Plants In Tabular Form

Basis of Comparison Vascular Plants Nonvascular Plants
Description Vascular plants are green plants with true leaves, stems and roots.
Plants have a vascular system containing the xylem and phloem for water, minerals and food transport to all parts of the plant.
Vascular plants bear fruits and flowers.
Non-vascular plants are short plants with poorly developed roots and stem. 
They also do not have a vascular system for water, minerals and food transport. 
Non vascular plants do not bear fruits and flowers, mainly they are wood.  
Size Plants are larger in size due to presence of a vascular system (phloem and xylem). Plants are relatively smaller in size when compared to non-vascular plants.  
Examples Examples of vascular plants include: clubmosses, grasses, sunflower, pines, horsetails, true ferns, angiosperms and gymnosperms. Examples of non-vascular plants include: bryophyte, mosses, green algae, liverworts and hornworts.  
Absorption Roots of the vascular plants are specialized to absorb water passively in the absence of transpiration pull through osmosis. Plants depend solely on osmosis and diffusion to absorb water passively.  
Root System Plants have deep root system which supports the plant and help to absorb nutrients Plants have rhizoids (small shallow roots to support the plant).  
Alternation of  Generations The principal generation phase of vascular plants is sporophyte. The sporophyte is normally large, dormant and nutritionally independent stage.  The principal generation phase is gametophyte. The gametophyte makes its own food through photosynthesis.
Stem and Shoot system Plants have a well developed stem or shoot system which protects the plant, help in exchange of gases and photosynthesis Plants true stems are largely absent.
Reproduction Plants reproduce via seed. Plants reproduce via spores.  
Leaves A leaf of vascular plants has cuticles and stomata which prevent desiccation and facilitate gaseous exchange respectively. True leaves are absent and that the plants do not have specialized tissues like dermal tissue to resist water loss or to facilitate gaseous exchange.  
Areas of Growth Commonly grow in everywhere. Plants are specified to grow in swampy, marshy, shady and moist places.  

Also Read: Difference Between Pteridophytes And Bryophytes

Similarities Between Vascular And Nonvascular Plants

Phloem and Xylem
  • The life cycle and mode of asexual reproduction are basically similar in both vascular and nonvascular plants.
  • Both plants exhibit alternation of generation i.e sporophytic and gametophytic generation.
  • Fertilization and embryo development is similar in both vascular and nonvascular plants.
  • In both vascular and nonvascular plants, water is very much essential for fertilization.
  • Both have multicellular sex organs.

Summary

Also Read: Difference Between Simple Permanent Tissues And Complex Permanent Tissues

What Is The Main Difference Between Vascular Plants And Non-vascular Plants?

Vascular plants are green plants with true leaves, stems, roots and bear a vascular system containing the xylem and phloem for water, minerals and food transport to all parts of the plant. Vascular plants bear fruits and flowers. On the other hand, non-vascular plants are short plants with poorly developed roots and stem.  They also do not have a vascular system for water, minerals and food transport.  Non vascular plants do not bear fruits and flowers, mainly they are wood.

6 COMMENTS

  1. This information was broken down in the most simplest way possible to make it so easy to understand and teach to others. My tendency is to focus on and overemphasize certain areas that may be easy for me to understand, but overlook other factors that are as equally important to notice and cover as well.

  2. information was broken down in the most simplest way possible to make it so easy to understand and teach to others. My tendency is to focus on and overemphasize certain areas that may be easy for me to understand, but overlook other factors that are as equally important to notice and cover as well.

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