20 Differences between Xylem and Phloem(With Table)

Flowering plants are classified as either vascular or non-vascular plants. Vascular plants have specialized features that help in the absorption of water and minerals as well as the transport of nutrients.

The main special tissues in vascular plants are xylem and phloem. Xylem and phloem structure is somehow similar. But this does not imply that these specialized tissues are similar. 

So, what is the main difference between xylem and phloem? The former is a complex, dead, and permanent tissue for water and mineral salts transport while the latter is soft and permanent tissue for food translocation. 

This article provides further explanations on the differences between xylem and phloem brainly. Take the time also to read through their similarities and learn how to write the difference between xylem and phloem class 9. 

Comparison Table ( Xylem Vs Phloem)

Basic TermsXylem TissuesPhloem Tissues
FunctionResponsible for the transport of water and minerals from the roots to the rest parts of the plantResponsible for the translocation of food from the leaves to the rest parts of the plant.
ContentMainly dead cellsMainly living cells and a few dead cells
ElementsXylem vessels, fibre and tracheids.Phloem fibers, sieve tubes, sieve cells, phloem parenchyma, and companion cells
LocationAt the center of the plant.The outer part of the plant. Mostly in the bark.
Movement DirectionUnidirectionalBidirectional
Additional RoleMechanical supportRemoval of wastes
ShapeStar-shapedDo not have a specific shape
OccurrenceRoots, stems, leavesRoots, stems, leaves
CompositionHas lignin and celluloseComprise of five types of cells

What Is Xylem?

Xylem is a vascular bundle in plants that is responsible for the transport of water and minerals throughout the various part of the plant from the roots.

This permanent tissue is found at the center of the plant and they have a thick wall that also helps to offer support in plants.

Besides that, the lignin material deposited on their secondary walls helps to prevent collapsing after transpiration. The flow of water in the plant from the roots through the xylem is unidirectional.

What Is Phloem?

Phloem is a vascular bundle in plants responsible for the translocation of food from the leaves to the rest parts of the plant.

The organic soluble substance manufactured as food is synthesized during photosynthesis. Glucose enhances the growth of the plant.

Phloem is normally inside the bark of the tree and it tends to surround the xylem. The outer part of the phloem is made of dead cells while the inner contain living cells.

Main Differences Between Xylem and Phloem

  1. Xylem is differentiated into hardwood and sapwood while the phloem is not differentiated.
  2. Xylem form the major bulk of the plant body while phloem form the major bulk of the bark
  3. Phloem has blasted fibers while xylems have small fibers
  4. Xylem cells have a thick wall while phloem cells have a thin wall
  5. Phloem has one type of conductive cell while xylem has two types of conductive cells
  6. Xylem has dead conductive tissues while phloem have living conductive tissues
  7. Phloem is located in the outer vascular cambium while the xylem is located in the inner vascular cambium
  8. Movement of transport in the xylem is unidirectional while that of the phloem is bidirectional
  9. Xylem experiences tyloses but it is not common in phloem
  10. Xylem occur in plenty amount when compared to phloem
  11. Xylem can help to offer mechanical support whereas phloem cannot
  12. Xylem is responsible for the transport of water and minerals while the phloem is responsible for the transport of food.
  13. Xylem consists of dead cells while phloem consists of living cells with few dead cells. 
  14. Xylem is differentiated into heartwood and sapwood while phloem is not differentiated. 
  15. Xylem has tracheids and vessels whereas phloem has sieve tubes. 
  16. Xylem has a thick cell wall whereas phloem has a thin cell wall. 
  17. Xylem fibers are robust and longer while phloem fibers are flexible and shorter. 
  18. Xylem is found in roots, leaves, and stems while phloem is found in the leaves and stems. 
  19. Xylem tissue consists of xylem vessels, tracheids, and fibers while phloem tissue consists of sieve tubes, companion cells, phloem fibers, and parenchyma. 
  20. Xylem forms the major bulk of the plant body while phloem forms the major bulk of the bark. 

Similarities Between Xylem and Phloem

  1. Both xylem and phloem have cellulose
  2. Both tissues contain chloroplast
  3. Both have vascular tissues for the transport
  4. Both contain parenchyma tissues

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Xylem Bigger than Phloem?

Yes. Xylem is always larger in a plant than phloem.

  • Why is Xylem Dead?

To allow more capacity for transporting water. Living cells tend to use up the water being transported. Hence, both the tracheids and vessels are dead. 

  • Is Phloem a Dead Tissue?

No. Phloem tissue is a living tissue meant for transporting food and other organic materials. The only dead cells in the phloem are fibers. But, sieve tubes, sieve cells, phloem parenchyma, and companion cells are all living cells in the phloem. 

  • Is Phloem Active or Passive Transport?

Well, the sugar molecules are moved into the sieve elements of phloem tissue through active transport. Water follows the sugar molecules into the sieve elements through osmosis. 

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Conclusion

These are the two complex tissues of the vascular bundles that play a vital role in the life of plants. Xylem is responsible for water and mineral transport from the roots while phloem for translocation of food from the leaves.

Therefore, these vascular vessels have equal importance in the life of a plant. The differences above help to know how each vessel works in its capacity.

More Sources and References

  1. Xylem and Phloem.  Basic Biology 

  2. Xylem. Wikipedia 

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