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Difference Between Xylem and Phloem

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Xylem and Phloem Difference

Plants are classified depending on several criteria and one amongst these classifications lies in the presence or absence of the vascular system. Generally, a vascular plant consists of features that specifically help in the absorption of water and minerals from the soil. They consist of specialized tissues like the xylem and the phloem.

Xylem and Phloem

Xylem and phloem are two different kinds of vascular tissues that are involved mainly in the process of transportation. These tissues tend to form a vascular bundle and they work together in the form of a single unit. Xylem possesses a unidirectional movement whereas phloem possesses a bidirectional movement.

Let us now understand and find the difference between xylem and phloem.

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Difference Between Xylem and Phloem Tissue





Xylem is the complex tissue of plants that helps in the transportation of water and nutrients in the plant.

Phloem refers to the living tissue which helps in the transportation of food and organic materials in the plant.

Type of Cell

It consists of dead cells but with an exception of parenchyma.

It mostly contains living cells.


Xylem consists of fibers, xylem vessels, and tracheids.

Phloem consists of phloem fibers, phloem parenchyma, sieve cells, sieve tubes,  and companion cells.


The xylem is located deeply in the plant in the center of the vascular bundle.

The phloem is located on the outermost side of the vascular bundle of the plant.

Mechanical Support

Xylem offers mechanical support.

Phloem does not offer any mechanical support.

Type of Movement

Xylem is unidirectional.

Phloem is bidirectional.

Xylem and Phloem functioning

The xylem helps in the transportation of both water and minerals from the roots.

The phloem helps in the transportation of food that is prepared by the green parts of the plants.

Proportion of Plant

Xylem mostly contains the bulk of the plant body.

Phloem consists of a small portion of the plant body.

Conducting Cells

The conducting cells in the xylem is dead.

The conducting cells in the phloem are living.

Let us explain the difference between xylem and phloem in detail.


The cells of the xylem tend to form long tubes that function to transport the materials. Also, the xylem sap is the mixture of both water and nutrients which flow through the xylem cells. The transportation of both these substances occurs via passive transport without any energy.

The capillary action is the phenomenon that helps in facilitating the upward flow of the xylem sap against the gravitational force. Also, capillary action occurs whenever the liquid tends to move in the upward direction because of the surface tension. Furthermore, the xylem helps in the movement of the water when it adheres to the xylem cells.

The Xylem contains different kinds of cells. Also, tracheids are the long cells that help in facilitating the xylem sap transportation apart from providing support structurally. However, the vessel elements are much shorter and help in the conduction of water. Furthermore, the xylem consists of parenchyma which refers to a tissue that contains mostly the softer parts of the plant.


Phloem aids in the movement of the photoassimilates via the system of translocation, generally in the form of sucrose and proteins. Also, this type of movement occurs in the leaves to the other parts of the plant.

Since there is a higher concentration of organic substances present inside the cells, an osmotic gradient occurs. Also, the water gets drawn out passively from the xylem that is adjacent. High turgor pressure is created and sugar solution occurs inside the phloem that causes essential substances to move across different parts of the plant.

The phloem structure consists of different components like sieve tubes, sieve cells, parenchyma, sclerenchyma, and companion cells. Also, these components tend to work together for assisting the conduction of sugars and amino acids. This type of conduction occurs from the source to the sink tissues.

Importance of Xylem and Phloem

The vascular tissues of the plant Xylem and phloem are very important tissues of the plant because of which the water and food are transferred from one part to other parts of the plant. In the xylem tissues, all the dissolved compounds are transferred from roots to stems and in the phloem tissue, the food is transported from leaves where the photosynthesis takes place to other parts like roots and stem which are non-photosynthesis parts of the plant.

Therefore these two tissues are very important for the survival of the plant without which the plant cannot live. Like in human beings, food and water are very important to live similarly in the plants. Food and water are needed by each and every part of the plant without which survival is impossible.

Students should know the difference between Xylem and Phloem to prepare this chapter well for the examination. They can gain knowledge about the important questions from Vedantu’s experts that provide the best guidance to the students to understand the important topics that can be asked in the examination. The questions prepared by Vedantu are according to the frequently asked questions in the last examinations and it is also according to the latest syllabus issued by the board and the latest guidelines for the answering patterns. The solutions provided by Vedantu help you to get knowledge about how to frame your answers to score extra marks.

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FAQs on Difference Between Xylem and Phloem

1. Write two differences between xylem and phloem.

The differences between xylem and phloem are as follows-

Xylem is known as the permanent and dead tissue which tends to carry both water and essential substances inside the plant. The primary function of the xylem is known to be to transport water, minerals, inorganic ions, and soluble nutrients. Also, this transportation occurs in an upward movement from the roots to the different parts of the plant.

Phloem, on the other hand, is known as a complex tissue that helps in the transportation of the soluble organic compounds, all throughout the different parts of the vascular plants. Phloem tends to use the energy and turgor pressure for transporting the sugars and many other substances to several parts of the plant.

2. What are the similarities between xylem and phloem?

The similarities of the xylem and phloem are given below-

  • Xylem and phloem both are complex tissues having more than one kind of cell.

  • Both of them are the components of the vascular tissue system in plants.

  • Xylem and phloem contain both the living as well as dead cells.

  • Both of them contain fibers.

  • Both xylem and phloem consist of parenchymatous cells.

  • Both the xylem and the phloem are segregated into the proto and meta elements in the primary vascular bundles.

  • Xylem and phloem show both primary as well as secondary growth.

  • Both xylem and phloem get developed from the cambium.

3. Why are xylem and phloem important topics?

Xylem and phloem are very important topics that students should prepare well as they have good weightage in exams. Also, to prepare these topics students should study from the textbook as well as from the extra study material provided by Vedantu. The revision notes and important questions prepared by the expert team of Vedantu helps students to get a complete understanding of the topics. 

You can go through it and prepare well for exams. The experts have prepared the study material after a lot of research and according to the frequently asked questions in exams. Also, they have followed the latest syllabus to make sure that everything is covered. You can rely on the study material and prepare well for your exams as it is prepared by the expert teachers of Vedantu who have deep knowledge of every topic to provide you with error-free study material.

4. What are the functions of xylem and phloem?

The functioning of the xylem and phloem is a very important topic. Transportation of water, minerals, and food throughout the plant is facilitated by xylem and phloem. Water and minerals are carried from root to leaves by xylem whereas food prepared by leaves are carried to other parts of the plant by phloem.

To get a better understanding of the functions of the xylem and phloem students can take reference from the notes provided by Vedantu where there is the complete description of the functioning of xylem and phloem and so students can understand it in a better way and prepare for all types of questions from this topic. The main function of the xylem and phloem is that the xylem helps to distribute the water and dissolved minerals upward through the plant that is from roots to leaves and the phloem helps to carry food downwards that is from the leaves to the roots.

5. Where can I find the best study material for xylem and phloem?

To get answers to all the questions relating to the topic xylem and phloem, students can refer to the study material provided by the best online learning portal Vedantu that has years of experience in providing the best study material to students to help them score well in their exams and prepare for a bright future. You can get a free PDF download for xylem and phloem revision notes and important questions with Vedantu. The team of Vedantu believes in providing the best educational services to guide students and help them to excel in their classes. If a student learns a chapter without understanding it then they might forget it till the time of examination, so, in order to retain the topics learned students should understand the topic well and try to write and learn. With this, they trigger cognitive skills that help them to retain the subject for a longer duration.

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