Thallophyte, also known as thallobionta or thallophyta, are basically non – mobile organisms of polyphyletic group that are conventionally called as “lower plants” or “relatively small plants” or “thalloid plants”. The plant has a hidden system of reproduction and as a result they are included into Cryptogamae. But as opposite to the cormophytes, the thallophyte has undifferentiated bodies with stems and roots. In the marine ecosystem, different kinds of or groups of thallophytes contribute in a large extent to its entire sphere and dynamism. The most popular definition of thellaphyte given in the Merriam – webster ( one of the most trusted online dictionaries) states, “it is any of a group of plants or plantlike organisms (such as algae and fungi) that lack differentiated stems, leaves, and roots and that were formerly classified as a primary division (Thallophyta) of the plant kingdom”. It is comprised of lichens, fungi and algae. The plant body has the absence of vascular system which means that there is no availability of the conducting tissues.
Characteristics of Thallophyta
Some of the basic characteristics of thallophyta are mentioned below:
Their sex organs are single – celled and simple.
There is provision of forming embryo once the fertilization is done or over.
It is not like the other plants in the context that there is no presence of phloem or xylem found.
Vascular tissue is not present in the plant.
Around their cells, they have a cellulose composing cell wall.
One of the different and unique characteristics of the thallophyta is that there is the production of glucose after photosynthesis and a part of this is consumed immediately. The remaining part of glucose is transformed into starch, a kind of complex compound.
The food that is reserved by the plant generally appears to be starch.
Most of the members of the group are responsible for manufacturing their own food. However, a few of them, as for instance: fungi are dependent for its food on other sources.
Their nature is found to be autotrophic.
These group of members are mostly found in wet or moist places
It happens because of the absence of vascular tissue and “true roots” which is required in order to make a network of connection for minerals and water. Because of this they are found in the wet and moist places.
The members of this group are one of the most primitive forms of plants. Their body is not found to be differentiated between leaves, stem and roots. They appear to be in the form of an undistinguished thallus. The group is commonly termed as algae.
Their sexual reproduction takes place by the amalgamation of two gemetes.
There may or may not be any alteration of generation present or available. Their life cycle may be divided into diplohaplontic, diplontic or diploid.
The body of the plants is segregated into different parts as leaves, stem or root.
Division of Thallophyta
If we ever have a look into the broader aspect or division of the plant kingdom, thellaphyta comes at the lower most part. It does not possess a well – structured design of the body. It basically means that there is no structure of the plant body as others in the form of roots, stems or leaves. These plants are permanently aquatic and commonly termed as algae. However, in addition to the above mentioned segmentation of the plant kingdom, there is also a sub -division of this specific plant is available. Thallophyta is basically classified into two broad divisions; these are fungi and algae.
Fungi : These are the achlorophyllous (as they are not able to produce chlorophyll) heterotrophic thallophytes. In order to overcome the handicap, there is the probability that very often the fungi may generate symbiotic connection with a cyanobacterium or an alga. Since the algae contain chlorophyll, it is able to produce the food by itself and in return the fungi shield the algae by providing it a safe environment and keep it safe from the UV rays. One of the important examples is lichen where two organisms are found to be acting in the form of a single unit. Some of the characteristics of fungi are:
They are non – motile.
They can be considered as the best recycler.
Unlike a plant, instead of cellulose, chitin is used to made up the cell walls.
Algae : These are the thalloids bearing chlorophyll. They are mostly aquatic plants and are autotrophic in nature. In addition to this, it is also observed that green algae are found to be forming a symbiotic network of connection with sloths. It is to be mentioned here that sloths are the native to Central America and South America’s lush tropical rainforests. It is because of this that the algae are given chance to flourish because the sloth fur creates a damp and moist environment for them. In return to this, the alga gives the sloth safety from the predators by giving it a chance of camouflage and also provides it extra nutrition. Spirogyra is one of the most common and important examples of this. Some of the basic characteristics of algae are:
These do not have any leave, stems or roots.
In order to carry out the process of photosynthesis, they have chlorophyll as well as other forms of pigment.
They can be both unicellular and multi – cellular.
Most of the times in water that the unicellular algae are occurred, specifically in plankton.
Thallophyte are basically non – mobile organisms of polyphyletic group.
They are conventionally called as “lower plants” or “relatively small plants” or “thalloid plants”.
Their life cycle may be divided into diplohaplontic, diplontic or diploid.
Spirogyra is one of the most common and important examples of this.
Thallophyta is basically classified into two broad divisions; these are fungi and algae.