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Difference Between Flowering and Non-Flowering Plants

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Characteristics of Flowering and Non-Flowering Plants - An Introduction

Flowering plants make up the largest and most diverse group of plants on Earth. They have colonized the majority of the planet, including the oceans and sea floors. As a result, these flowering plants, which are referred to as "angiosperms," are very important to human life. Not only are they responsible for producing a significant portion of the oxygen that we breathe, but they also produce fruit, vegetables, herbs, and seeds. They contribute to the ecology by producing things, whereas we do so by consuming things.

Non-flowering Plants are those that do not produce flowers because they lack the specialized reproductive apparatus, which is the flower. The evolution of these plants occurred a very long time before anthophytes. In general, these plants are a lot simpler to care for than flowering plants.

Flowering plants and non-flowering plants, on the other hand, differ significantly in a number of important ways. The fact that non-flowering plants do not produce flowers or fruits is one of the most significant distinctions between the two types of plants. They do not possess any sieve tubes or partner cells in the phloem, nor do they have any vessels in the xylem. They cannot fertilize without access to external water or, at the very least, internal fluids. All non-flowering plants lack double fertilization.

How Flowering Plants Evolved?

Flowering plants are thought to have come from gymnosperms like Gnetae at least 200 million years ago. About 125 million years ago, the first fossils of flowering plants were found. The fossil flowers have both male and female parts but do not have petals or sepals.


Researchers believe that insects and other animals helped transfer pollen from flower to flower, beginning with the first flowers. This made fertilization much more effective than when pollen was spread by the wind and might or might not land on another flower. To get the most out of this "work" by animals, plants have developed things like brightly coloured petals to attract pollinators. Flowers agave nectar to the pollinators in exchange for them spreading pollen.


It was not a good use of resources to give accessible nectar to any animal that happened to pass by. Many of the pollen could be carried to different flowers, which would be a waste. Because of this, many plants developed ways to "hide" their nectar from all but very specific pollinators, which would be more likely to visit only flowers of the same species. Animals pollinating plants also co-evolved traits that helped them find the hidden nectar.

The Reproduction Process of Non-Flowering Plants

Flowers are typically the most visually appealing feature of most plants, yet, their primary function is to aid in the propagation of the species through the development of seeds.


On the other hand, there are a lot of plants in the world that never produce any flowers. The reproduction process of the fern, a non-flowering plant, is described here. Ferns dominated the planet when the earth was basically a warm, steamy greenhouse. However, nowadays, you can find them more frequently in tropical and subtropical regions. One of the reasons for this is that, similar to mosses; they require water as a medium in order to finish the process of reproduction in their bodies.

  • Most ferns, non-flowering plants, reproduce via spores that can be discovered underneath their leaves. When the spores reach maturity, they rupture and discharge a dust-like substance that is a dark brown color.

  • The reproduction process will start as soon as this comes into contact with warm and moist soil. New fern plants will start to grow whenever the humidity, light, and temperature conditions are just right.

  • The sporophytes are the plants that are most easily recognisable as ferns. However, spores are only found on certain of the leaves of a fern plant. The sporangia are carried by structures known as sporophylls, which are often located on the underside of the sporophylls.

  • Some of the mature spores that land on damp soil have the potential to germinate into a tiny structure in the shape of a heart called a prothallus, but only if the conditions are right. This stage of a fern's development is known as the gametophyte phase.

  • The inconspicuous prothallus is responsible for producing both male and female gametes; however, for fertilization to occur, the male cells need to make their way to the female cells by swimming through a film of water.

  • New fern plants, also known as zygotes, emerge from the fertilized female plant. However, it takes these seedlings a very long time to mature into full-grown specimens.

Difference Between Flowering and Non-Flowering Plants

  • Flowering plants have xylem packed with vessels, but the xylem of non-flowering plants is devoid of such structures.

  • Flowering plants have phloem with sieve tubes and companion cells; non-flowering plants do not.

  • Flowering plants are the only plants in which the ovule grows within the ovary; non-flowering plants do not have this characteristic.

  • Flowering plants do not require either external water or internal fluids to be fertilized. In contrast, non-flowering plants, particularly more primitive non-flowering plants, require external water for fertilization, whereas more developed non-flowering plants require at least internal fluids for fertilization.

  • As a result, the spermatozoids found in blooming plants are immobile, whereas the spermatozoids found in non-flowering plants are mostly mobile.

10 Examples of Flowering Plants and Non-Flowering Plants

Below is a flowering and non-flowering plants chart providing some popular examples of these plants.

Flowering Plants

Non-Flowering Plants

Nymphaeaceae (Water lily)

Cycads

Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Gingko

Ixora

Ferns

Mangifera indica (Mango)

Gnetophytes

Jasminum (Jasmine)

Gnetum

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Hibiscus)

Ephedra

Bellis perennis (Daisy)

Welwitschia

Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

Mosses

Lilium (Lily)

Horse Tails

Lavandula (Lavender)

Junipers

Interesting Facts

  • Welwitschia leaves are drought-tolerant and consumed by animals.

  • Grass is a flowering plant.

  • The ginkgo tree, often known as the Chinese elm, is not just the world's oldest tree but also an indigenous Chinese species.

Important Questions

1. Explain the characteristics of non-flowering plants.

Ans: Non-flowering plants are those that do not produce flowers because they lack the specialized reproductive apparatus, which is the flower. The evolution of these plants occurred a very long time before anthophytes. In general, these plants are a lot simpler to care for than flowering plants. Flowering plants and non-flowering plants, on the other hand, differ significantly in a number of important ways. They do not possess any sieve tubes or partner cells in the phloem.

2. Did flowering plants evolve through pollination?

Ans: Researchers believe that insects and other animals helped transfer pollen from flower to flower, beginning with the first flowers. This made fertilization much more effective than when pollen was spread by the wind and might or might not land on another flower. To get the most out of this "work" by animals, plants have developed things like brightly coloured petals to attract pollinators. Flowers gave nectar to the pollinators in exchange for them spreading pollen.

Key Features

  • Flowering plants are referred to as angiosperms.

  • Non-flowering plants do not have vessels in their xylem.

  • Flowering plants do not require either external water or internal fluids to be fertilized.

Last updated date: 20th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Difference Between Flowering and Non-Flowering Plants

1. Mention some of the flowering plants that can be grown at home

Bougainvillea, Chrysanthemums, Rose, Jasmine

2. What are non-flowering plants called?

They are known as cryptogams.

3. Does aloe vera have flowers?

Although young aloes appear to consist of little rosettes that mimic flowers, these are in fact plant's leaves.


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