Difference Between Plant and Tree

Definition of Plant

The multicellular eukaryotes are plants (Plantae), which are one of the ecosystem's important life forms. They are characterized by photosynthetic feeding (except for a few parasitic plants, insectivorous plants) where water, sunlight, minerals, and carbon dioxide are used to generate chemical energy. Secondly, they are immobilized, leading to a stationary life. In a localized area, they can grow widely. 

  • Plants have a well established vascular system which helps in transporting water and food throughout the body. Their height ranges from a few millimetres (duckweed) to much greater than 90 meters (giant sequoias).

  • There are plant varieties that are found in various regions of the world; they are present in the dry, cold, underwater, high, low, etc. areas. 

  • There are approx 390, 900 plant species recognized, and more to be discovered in various parts of the world. They all serve the life form and support it in many ways. Both forms of energy consumed by a living organism depend directly or indirectly on the photosynthesis process carried out by green plants.

Definition of Tree

A type of woody plant which continues its development (perennial). Trees (Plantae) have a single trunk that carries their weight, woody tissues are in the trunk, and a tree's trunk also produces the secondary limbs or branches. 

One can define the tree physiologically as a tree's trunk has dead tissues that help to support the treetop's weight. Within the tissue band, the xylem and phloem are present and help in moving food and water from the roots to other areas of the tree. Inside the cambium, xylem is present, while phloem is present outside the tissue.

Every year, the tree grows two annual rings; one is in summer, which is a dense layer known as summerwood, and the second is in spring, which is a thin and vast layer known as springwood types.

Trees represent the largest and fundamental diversity on Earth. The biosphere depends directly or indirectly on the activity of the tree, such as digestion, photosynthesis, recycling, as well as its products (pulp, fruit, leaves, flowers, wood, etc). There are approximately 3 trillion mature trees all over the world.

What is the Difference Between Plant and Tree?





Plants are related to the kingdom of Plantae.

Trees are tall woody-tissue trees.


In sizes, plants differ. They can be a few inches or closer as grasses or long as shrubs to the fields.

Generally, trees are taller than plants. They can be a coast redwood of a few feet or more, towering up to 300 feet.


Plants have single or several soft, tender stems, or maybe pseudostems.

Trees are known for their strong and woody stems, known as the trunk, and it helps to support a tree's weight.

Mode of Nutrition

Autotrophic, though some are heterotrophic also (such as Pitcher plant)

All are Autotrophic.


Plants do not have a long life cycle, some plants are indeed seasonal and can only live for one growing season, bi-annuals or perennials (for two seasons) (five to hundred years).

Trees have a long life cycle and can, under favourable circumstances, live up to hundreds of years.

Did you know?

  • As they slow and filter rainfall, trees help enhance our water quality.

  • Trees need water to live, just like humans — and they drink a lot of it. A large tree will absorb 100 gallons of water from the ground in a single day and release it as oxygen and water vapour into the air. Remember that there are many factors that play a role, such as a tree size, tree species, humidity, temperature, exposure to the sun, etc.


While many characteristics are shared by plants and trees, they are easy to tell apart. Generally, trees are much larger in size than plants. Trees also have only one woody stem and are referred to as a trunk. Plants typically have several roots, but they are readily bendable and somewhat weaker. Another distinction is that, on the lower parts of their body, trees have few leaves or branches. 

Towards the apex of the centre, most of the leaves are present. Plants, although they are closer to the ground, still have leaves. Some plants are composed entirely of leaves as well. Trees have a very small range of shapes, ranging from triangular and rounded forms to columnar varieties. In contrast to trees, plants have a broader variety of shapes. These vary from scrambling vines to thickets or clumps. So, there is a major difference between tree and plant.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Do Trees Mitigate Pollution?

Ans. The health of humans, animals and plants is negatively affected by high concentrations of harmful gases and particles in our atmosphere. It also causes temperatures to increase, causing climate change to intensify. A third of global emissions are absorbed every year by the world's forests. On the leaves of a tree, particles, odours and pollutant gases such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia and sulphur dioxide settle down. Through their stomata, or 'pores', trees absorb these toxic chemicals, effectively filtering these chemicals from the air. Through trapping heat, reducing ground-level ozone levels and releasing life-giving oxygen, trees also mitigate the greenhouse gas effect. If our current rate of deforestation continues, it will have a serious impact on the quality of our air.

2. How Do Plants Respire?

Ans. In plants, the respiration process involves using the sugars generated during photosynthesis plus oxygen to generate energy for plant growth. Respiration is the opposite of photosynthesis in many respects. Plants produce their own food in the natural environment to survive. They use the environment's carbon dioxide to produce sugar and oxygen, which can later be used as an energy source. While photosynthesis only takes place in the leaves and stems, respiration takes place in the leaves, stems, and plant roots. The plants get oxygen from the air through the stomata, as with photosynthesis. In the presence of oxygen, which is called 'aerobic respiration', respiration takes place in the mitochondria of the cell. Two types of respiration occur in plants: dark respiration and photorespiration. In the presence or absence of light, the first kind occurs, while the second occurs solely in the presence of light.