Difference between Angiosperm and Gymnosperm

What are Angiosperms and Gymnosperm?


The term“Angiosperm” is derived from a Greek word that implies a container. The angiosperm is basically a plant that has seeds in mature ovaries or its fruits. An angiosperm produces flowers that carry fruits and reproductive organs. 

These plants are thought to be more adaptive as compared to the land-based ecosystem. They are also found extensively on our earth. There are about 250000 species of angiosperm that have been recognized in this category.
Some of the examples of these plants include fruit trees such as Mango, Banana, Apple, Cherry, Peach, Pear, Orange, and more. Plants that come under the nightshade family such as Petunias, Tomato, Eggplant, and Peppers and the ones in grass family like corn, wheat, sugarcane and rice are categorized as Angiosperm.


Gymnosperm is also a kind of plant that has seeds present right on the sporophylls in a naked state. This implies that the seeds do not have any covering on it or are not coated in the carpel. There are very less species of this plant. Some of the examples of the plant include cypress, pine, Gnetum, redwood, spruce, cycads, ginkgo, fir, Welwitschia and juniper.

The major reason behind a fewer species of Gymnosperm is due to the very less or nil protection of seeds. This is because the seeds are not efficiently covered by any coating when they get released from the plant. 

Their unprotected nature is the reason behind their less availability. These seeds require to go into the ground fast to take the protection of the roots so as to avoid getting damaged by weather conditions or animals.

Both angiosperms as well as gymnosperms have seeds in them. They have got a natural ability to form seeds that are enclosed by a nutritive tissue. These seeds are coated with a coating. Gymnosperm were present around two hundred million years prior to the occurrence of angiosperm plants.

Several million years back, gymnosperms were formed. At that time, they were the only type of plant life present on the planet Earth. Around 200 to 250 million years back, the angiosperms began to grow. Now, it has been seen that angiosperms are widely spread and populous. They are considered to be the most dominant plant-based life present on the Earth. 

Angiosperms are comprised of diverse varieties of plants approx. 240,000 to 450,000 species. They occupy every type of aquatic and land environment except extreme habitats. An angiosperm can be either monocots or dicots. Gymnosperms as well as angiosperms are regarded as vascular plants. They both have got a sporophytedominant lifecycle.

Gymnosperms are present in desert and semi-desert areas. Examples of it are monocots such as lilies, agaves, grasses, orchids and peas, roses, oaks, maples and sunflowers.

Differences between an Angiosperm and a Gymnosperm

Angiosperms and Gymnosperms differ from each other on various levels. Angiosperms are also known as flowering plants. They have got seeds in them that are surrounded inside the ovary. It is usually a fruit whereas in case of gymnosperms, they have no fruits or flowers.

Gymnosperms are either “naked” seeds or unenclosed on the outer surface of leaves or scales. The seeds of Gymnosperm are mostly organized in the form of cones. The major characteristic feature of a gymnosperm that distinguishes an angiosperm from a gymnosperm is that it comprises of fruits, endosperm present in the seeds and flowers.

Another important difference between an angiosperm and a gymnosperm is the “diversity”. Studies performed on both of the plant groups confirm that the diversity of an angiosperm is more as compared to that of a gymnosperm. The greater diversity shows that angiosperms are quite adaptive in nature as compared to terrestrial ecosystems. 

Another distinctive feature of an angiosperm is the flower that it contains and the manner in which the fruit is produced in them. In case of a gymnosperm, seeds are not contained within the fruit.

In case of Angiosperm, seeds are formed by the flowering plants. They are properly enclosed inside the ovary. In case of gymnosperm, its seeds are formed by non-flowering species of plants. They are naked and unenclosed. 

When the lifecycle of both these plants are seen, then it is found that in case of angiosperm, its lifecycle is seasonal whereas the lifecycle of gymnosperm plants is evergreen.

Angiosperm has got a triploid tissue, whereas gymnosperm has got a haploid tissue.

Looking at the shape of leaves, an angiosperm plant has flat-shaped leaves. In case of gymnosperm, the leaves are either in needle shape or scale scape. 

An angiosperm is a type of hardwood whereas Gymnosperm is a plant of the type of softwood.

Pollination also called as reproduction in an angiosperm plant depends completely on animals whereas reproduction of gymnosperm plant depends on wind. 

As far as the reproductive or fertilization systems of these plants are concerned, an angiosperm has got unisexual or bisexual reproductive system. It is present in the flowers. In case of a gymnosperm, the reproductive system is unisexual and it is present in its cones.

In case of gymnosperms, vessels are not seen in the xylem except in gnetales. In case of angiosperms, you can see vessels located in the xylem.

In a gymnosperm plant, phloem does not have any companion cells, whereas in case of an angiosperm, you will see the presence of several companion cells.

In case of angiosperms flowers has corolla and calyx and the process of pollination is both unisexual and bisexual. In gymnosperm, after fertilization pollen grains sit directly on the ovule.

In case of angiosperms, you will find that ovules contained in them are efficiently coated in carpel and enclosed in a casing called the ovary. Pollen grains land on the stigma post-pollination. Here the pollination happens by different means like insects, water, wind, and animals which is not in the case in gymnosperm. Here, the pollination only happens through wind. Flowers in angiosperm mostly comprise of both female as well as male gametes within them. After reproduction, the ovules take the form of a fruit. In case of gymnosperm, gametes are present in the cones. 

Cones have the same usual brown colored appearance in gymnosperms. This is not the case in angiosperm where the cone has an irregular occurrence.

In case of a gymnosperm, you can see archegonia but in angiosperms, it is absent. Double fertilization takes place in angiosperms.

In gymnosperm, an endosperm is a kind of a haploid tissue whereas in case of an angiosperm, it is usually triploid.
The process of fruit formation is totally absent in a gymnosperm.These plants do not have fruits in them whereas an angiosperm is a fruit bearing plant.

An angiosperm plant is mainly used for the purposes such as medications, clothing, food, etc. In case of gymnosperm, it is mainly used for the purpose of lumber, paper, etc.

Formation of tissues in an angiosperm goes beyond the complexity and amount present in a gymnosperm. Because of several varieties of flowers and fruits, they have got multicolored shapes and colours of flowers, leaves, and fruits.

Angiosperms offer all types of plant-based food and most of the livestock feed. Fruit, grains, nightshades vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes, legumes, cabbages and gourds are angiosperms. Other types of angiosperms include flax and cotton that provide raw materials for textiles and paper. The hardwood of an angiosperm is also used in making hardwood floorings.