What Is The Difference Between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms?

So, what is the main difference between angiosperm and gymnosperm? Angiosperms are flowering plants whose seeds are enclosed in fruit while gymnosperms are non-flowering plants whose seeds are naked. 

Taxonomy is a branch of science that deals with the classification of living organisms in a systematic manner. There are about seven taxonomic levels in classification such as kingdom, phylum or division, class, family, order, genus, and species. 

According to classification, the kingdom is the second highest taxonomic rank. There are about six kingdoms in classification as Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea, and bacteria.  Kingdom Plantae consists of all plants. These plants are eukaryotic, multicellular, and autotrophic organisms. Besides that, they have rigid cell walls, chloroplasts, and chlorophyll pigment that facilitate photosynthesis. 

Plantae kingdom is further subdivided into Angiosperm, Gymnosperm, Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, and Thallophyta. But many learners find it challenging to differentiate angiosperm from gymnosperm.  This article provides further explanation about gymnosperms and angiosperms examples. You will also learn about the similarities between angiosperms and gymnosperms for faster understanding. 

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Difference Between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms (With Table)

Basic Terms Angiosperms Gymnosperms
Definition These are flowering and seed-producing plants whose seeds are enclosed in the ovary. These are non-flowering and seed-producing plants whose seeds are not enclosed in the ovary.
Pollination Process Insects Wind
Examples Orchids, lilies, roses, sunflower, maple trees, oak trees. Pine trees, conifers, firs, spruce trees, ginkgo, cactus, and cycads.
Root System Taproot and other root modifications. Has taproot only.
Branch Types One type of branch Two types of branches i.e long and dwarf shoot.
Endosperm Derived from fertilization of the sperm nucleus which results in triploid. Derived from female gametophyte which forms haploid.
Stomata True stomata Have sunken stomata
Flowers Possess flowers Do not flower.
Vascular Vessels Well-developed vessels for conducting water and minerals. Lack of developed vessels except for phylum that transport water.
Companion cells Have companion cells Lack of companion cells
Fertilization Double fertilization results in a zygote and endosperm Occur in the ovules which results in a zygote.
Leaves Needle-like leaves Flat leaves
Gametophyte Structures The male and female gametophyte is part of the flower Male and female are present but separate.
Life cycle Sporophyte generation Alternation of generations
Mature pollen It has two sperm nuclei. Have three cells i.e one tube cell and two sperm.
Nuclei It has a total of 8 nuclei where the embryo sac consist of a mature megagametophyte consists of 7 cells. It has a large egg nucleus where a mature gametophyte contains 2-3 archegonia.
Archegonia Absent Present
Sporophylls Occur to develop flowers Occur to form cones
Bisexual/ Unisexual Tend to be bisexual and rarely unisexual. Cones are unisexual and rarely bisexual.
Cotyledons    Present Absent

What Are Angiosperms?

Angiosperms, commonly known as flowering plants, represent the largest and most diverse group within the plant kingdom. These plants are characterized by the presence of flowers, which are reproductive structures containing male and female reproductive organs. Angiosperms produce seeds enclosed within a protective structure called a fruit.

The life cycle of angiosperms involves the formation of flowers, where pollination occurs, facilitating the transfer of pollen from the male reproductive organs (stamens) to the female reproductive organs (pistils). After successful pollination and fertilization, the ovule within the ovary develops into a seed, and the ovary transforms into a fruit that surrounds and protects the seed. This distinctive feature of seeds enclosed within fruits sets angiosperms apart from gymnosperms, the other major group of seed-producing plants.

Angiosperms exhibit remarkable diversity in terms of size, shape, and habitat. They include familiar plants such as trees, shrubs, grasses, and herbaceous flowers. The adaptability of angiosperms has contributed to their dominance in terrestrial ecosystems, making them the predominant plant group in various environments.

The ecological significance of angiosperms extends beyond their reproductive strategies. They play vital roles in food production, as many crops consumed by humans, such as grains, fruits, and vegetables, belong to this group. Additionally, angiosperms contribute to the overall biodiversity of ecosystems, providing habitats and sustenance for a myriad of organisms.

In summary, angiosperms are characterized by the presence of flowers and the production of seeds enclosed within fruits. Their diverse forms and adaptability have made them the most prevalent and successful group of plants on Earth, influencing ecosystems and human societies alike.

What Are Gymnosperms?

Gymnosperms are a group of seed-producing plants that are characterized by the absence of enclosed ovaries around their seeds. The term “gymnosperm” is derived from the Greek words “gymnos,” meaning naked, and “sperma,” meaning seed. These plants produce seeds that are exposed on the surface of cone scales rather than being enclosed within fruits, as is the case with angiosperms (flowering plants).

Gymnosperms include a variety of plant species, each with unique features. Conifers, such as pine, spruce, fir, and cedar trees, are the most well-known and widespread group of gymnosperms. They typically have needle-like or scale-like leaves and produce cones as their reproductive structures. Other examples of gymnosperms include cycads, which have palm-like leaves, ginkgo trees, and the gnetophytes, which include plants like Ephedra.

Unlike angiosperms, gymnosperms do not produce true flowers. Instead, they have reproductive structures called cones or strobili. Male cones produce pollen, which is dispersed by the wind, while female cones contain ovules. After pollination and fertilization, the seeds develop on the surface of the cone scales.

Gymnosperms are well-adapted to various environmental conditions and are often found in cold or arid regions. They play significant ecological roles, providing timber, paper, and other resources, and contribute to the overall biodiversity of ecosystems. Despite their differences from angiosperms, gymnosperms are essential components of the plant kingdom with unique characteristics and ecological importance.

Main Difference between Angiosperm and Gymnosperm 

  1. Angiosperms are flowering plants while gymnosperms are non-flowering plants.
  2. Angiosperms have flat leaves while gymnosperms have needle-like leaves.
  3. Gymnosperms have softwood whereas angiosperms have hardwood.
  4. Angiosperms have flowers that are unisexual or bisexual while gymnosperms have flowers that are unisexual and naked.
  5. The reproductive organ of angiosperms is flowers while those of gymnosperms are cones or cones or strobilus.
  6. Flowers in angiosperms have sepals and petals while gymnosperms do not have petals or sepals.
  7. The main cause of pollination in angiosperms is insects while in gymnosperm is wind pollination.
  8. The lifecycle of angiosperm is season whereas that of gymnosperms is perennial and evergreen.
  9. Angiosperms are the main source of hardwood while gymnosperm has softwood stems.
  10. Angiosperms have sporophylls that accumulate to form flowers while gymnosperm has sporophylls that accumulate to form cones.

Similarities between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms

  1. Both ovules develop into seeds
  2. Both have a well-developed embryo
  3. Both plants experience pollination
  4. Both have anomalous secondary thickening
  5. The sporophyte is differentiated in both
  6. Both have diploid sporophyte

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Angiosperms and gymnosperms are two major groups of seed-producing plants, each characterized by distinct features in terms of reproductive structures, seed development, and overall plant morphology.

Angiosperms, also known as flowering plants, have seeds enclosed within fruits. Their reproductive structures, flowers, contain male and female reproductive organs, facilitating pollination and fertilization. After fertilization, the ovule develops into a seed, and the ovary transforms into a fruit that protects and disperses the seed. Angiosperms are highly diverse and dominate the plant kingdom, encompassing familiar plants such as trees, grasses, and flowering shrubs.

Gymnosperms, on the other hand, produce seeds that are not enclosed within fruits. The seeds typically develop on the surface of cone scales. Gymnosperms lack true flowers; instead, they have reproductive structures called cones or strobili. Male cones produce pollen, while female cones contain ovules. Pollination occurs through the wind, and after fertilization, seeds develop on the exposed surface of cone scales. Conifers, cycads, ginkgos, and gnetophytes are examples of gymnosperms.

In summary, the key distinction lies in the reproductive structures and the development of seeds. Angiosperms have flowers and produce seeds enclosed within fruits, promoting diverse modes of seed dispersal. Gymnosperms, in contrast, have cones and produce seeds exposed on cone scales, relying on wind pollination. These differences contribute to the unique characteristics and ecological roles of each group in the plant kingdom.

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