10 Important Difference between Plants and Trees with Table

What is the difference between plants and trees?

Plantae kingdom comprises of all plants such as grass, herbs, shrubs, vines, bushes, mosses, ferns, green algae, and trees. But is there a difference between trees and plants?

Well, the discussion provides a detailed insight into the difference between plants and trees with a comparison chart. We have also highlighted the similarities between plants and trees.

Difference between Plants and Trees

What Are Plants?

Plants are multicellular eukaryotes of the Plantae kingdom. Examples of plants are herbs, shrubs, trees, grasses, ferns, and mosses. These plants use their roots to absorb water and minerals from the soil while leaves for the manufacture of the food through photosynthesis.

According to research, there are over 390, 900 species of plants and they are found in different areas of the world. They support life in different ways and sources of energy for another living organism.

What Are Trees?

Trees are woody plants that grow throughout the year (perennial plants). A tree has a single trunk that has woody tissues and branches that support the leaves. They also contain dead cells which help to support the weight of the treetops.

Besides that, they have well-developed vascular bundles such as xylem and phloem. The cambium present in the xylem promotes secondary growth in trees. There are responsible for the production of softwood and hardwood.

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Comparison Chart: Plants Vs Trees

Basic TermsPlantsTrees
Classificationkingdom PlantaePlants
SizeVaries in sizesLargest plant family
HeightSome tend to be shorter and close to the ground while others tallerTend to be taller in the plant family
Trunk or stemEither soft or hard stemsTend to have hardwood trunk
LongevityShort lifespanLong lifespan under favorable condition
Mode of NutritionSome are Autotrophic and others heterotrophicAutotrophic
ShapesCome in specific shape depending on the plant typeCome in variable shapes such as columns, pyramid, rounded, etc.
Apical DominanceNoYes
Unfavorable ConditionsSurvives lessSurvives better
DiversityExtremely higherLess

Core Differences between Plants and Trees

  1. Plants belong to Plantae kingdom whereas trees belong to plants
  2. Trees have specific shapes while plants have variable shapes
  3. Plants are either annual or Biennials whereas trees are perennial
  4. Plants tend to be shorter whereas trees are ever tall
  5. The trunk of plants have multiple stems whereas trees have a woody stem
  6. Trees tend to survive better in an unfavorable environment unlike plants
  7. Plants do not have apical dominance while trees have apical dominance
  8. The mode of nutrition in trees is autotrophic while in plants is either autotrophic or heterotrophic
  9. Plants have a higher diversity than trees
  10. Trees have longer lifespan while plants have a shorter lifespan

Comparison Video


The core difference between plants and trees is that plants belong to the Plantae kingdom while trees belong to the family of plants. The trunk of trees has dead cells which help to support the weight of the treetops. Both have vascular bundles for translocation and absorption of water.

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