Different types of plants surround us all around us. Many of us recognize several kinds of plants that flower, grow in our gardens, or we can eat. There is a varied range in the types of plants that grow worldwide.
Plants such as mosses, ferns, and algae are examples of flowerless plants that thrive in damp conditions. Other plants include flowering plants and trees that grow in different situations and are essential for living.
Types of Plants – Methods of Plant Classification
All the plants belong to the kingdom Plantae. They are divided into two categories depending on whether they are seed-bearing plants or plants without seeds. Plants are also classified by their families, species, and genera. This plant classification allows easy identification and makes it easier to study.
Plant classifications also depend on their vascular system. Nonvascular plants like algae are primitive plants. They are in a lower class of plants and have simple tissue systems to transport water internally. Vascular plants such as herbs, shrubs, trees, and flowers have complex vascular tissue to transport fluid and nutrients internally.
Types of Plants – The Main Kinds of Plants
All types of plants are classified into two main groups: plants without seeds and plants with seeds.
Plants without seeds
They are mosses, algae, liverworts, and ferns. These types of unique plants produce spores that are distributed by the wind. For example, you can take a closer look at the underneath leaves of the fern. You will notice tiny structures containing spores known as sporangia.
Plants with seeds
They comprise of all kinds of cycads (palm-like plants with cones), flowering plants, conifers (such as firs, spruce, juniper, pines, and cedars), and Ginkgo.
The flowering plants produce seeds that are protected within their fruit. These fruits can be soft fruits such as oranges, apples, oranges, or berries. They can be hard fruits like all kinds of nuts. The plants with cones, mostly evergreen trees, are yet another vascular plant with seeds.
Types of Plants – Seedless Plants
There are four different plant groups that can reproduce without seeds.
Sea Kelp is a type of large brown algae. It is an edible seedless plant. Algae are a large, diverse group of plants that grow in water. Algae are divided into brown algae, green algae, and red algae. The different types of algae are not related closely. There are more than 72000 species of algae in the world.
Phytoplankton is tiny microscopic algae that serve as a food source for several marine animals. Some varieties of algae are also called seaweed. They are found in waters around coastlines globally.
There is also some confusion about whether species of algae are indeed types of plants. Algae use photosynthesis to make food. Interestingly, some algae seem to be able to “eat” other organisms similar to animals. However, most people view algae as a type of plant.
Brown algae are common algae that grow in the sea and are usually good to eat. Some species of brown algae can grow up to 50 m tall. Sea Kelp is an edible brown alga that contains Iodine in high volumes.
Green algae generally grow in the freshwater, although they can also grow in saltwater. Some are tiny microscopic organisms. If they are in abundance, they can turn seawater or ponds green. Similar to brown algae, some green algae grow as seaweed.
Red algae (Rhodophyta) are the largest group (phyla) of all algae species and mainly grow in marine environments.
Like all kinds of algae, red algae don’t produce seeds. Red algae are an essential food source and are the type used for nori.
Liverworts include several species of plants, such as Lunularia cruciata. They are nonvascular flowerless plants that don’t bear seed and are in the division of the Marchantiophyta. These small leafy plants are tiny as 2 mm or grow to 20 mm wide. Liverwort tends to flourish in damp places. Liverworts are generally more minor than mosses. They have small hair-like structures called rhizoids, which they use to absorb water. Scientists say that liverworts developed after algae and are more advanced than algae, although they have a lower plant form.
Moss are small flowerless plants that grow in damp or shady places
All species of moss belong to the division Bryophyta. There are about 12,000 species. You can see Mosses growing in wet areas similar to liverworts. You can often see pictures of moss growing on rocks, trees, soil, and concrete. The fact that moss doesn’t need soil to develop means that this unique plant can thrive almost anywhere.
Mosses were earlier classified with liverworts and hornworts in the Marchantiophyta group. However, they are now in a classification of their own. There are eight classes of mosses, with the peat-moss Sphagnum being the most commercially important. Sphagnum moss is commonly used as mulch, for home decoration, or in the florist trade.
Ferns thrive in damp shady areas. They belong to the group of plants without seeds and are flowerless plants in the class Polypodiopsida. Unlike algae and mosses, ferns are a kind of vascular plant that distributes spores to reproduce. There are more than 10000 species of ferns, and some are among the oldest plants on the planet.
You can identify the ferns by their green leafy foliage consisting of fronds and pinnae. Ferns grow in forests and love damp shady areas. Some of the tallest ferns in the world can grow up to 25 m tall.
Ferns are also common indoor bedroom houseplants that thrive well at room temperature. Their bushy green foliage and long, trailing leaves can add beautiful greenery to a room. Some common species of ferns to grow indoors include Boston ferns, staghorn ferns, and the bird’s nest fern. Many perennial ferns are also popular plants for gardens as they grow in areas where other plants can’t. Ferns are good examples of ground cover plants, especially in shady areas.
Types of Plants – Plants with Seeds
Plants with seeds are one of the world’s largest groups of land plants. Seeds from these plants are either encased in fruits or in a cone that protects the seed.
Angiosperms are seed-bearing plants that flower, while gymnosperms are cone-producing trees. All species of plants that bear seeds are vascular plants that are essential for our environment.
Cycads are seed-bearing plants with pinnate leaves and cone-like reproductive structures (strobilus). They are an exotic group of plants that grow in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Similar to palm trees, cycads have woody trunks that sprout large evergreen leaves.
Unlike other trees, cycads don’t have branches. The leaves of cycads grow directly from the trunks. The seeds from cycad plants are enclosed in cone-like structures. This flowerless tree takes help from reproduces from beetles which assist in pollinating the seeds. Scientists have reported that this ancient exotic-looking plant has not changed much since the Jurassic times. The different species of cycads come in various sizes.
The minor type of cycad may have a trunk only a few centimeters tall. This exciting plant gives the impression that it has long fern-like leaves growing from the ground. It is easy to mistake cycads for ferns. Larger cycads can grow large leaves that look like they are exploding from the top of the trunk. The larger cycad species can produce between 10m to 15 m tall. If you live in a warm climate, cycads can be great ornamental plants for your garden.
A coniferous forest has different kinds of trees like pines, firs, cedars, spruces, and junipers.
Conifers are the common name for woody, shrub-like plants and trees in the division Pinophyta. These perennial evergreen trees includes cedars, pines, spruces, and junipers. These important types of trees grow in most climates and are very common in the Northern Hemisphere. They are also the most important group of gymnosperms.
Like cycads, conifers are identified by their seed-producing cones. Some conifers have cones that disintegrate to disperse seeds, and others rely on birds for seed dispersal. Although Pinophyta is the common scientific name, the division Coniferae can also be used.
Conifers are identified by their unique type of green, bluish-gray, or silvery foliage. Some types of conifers can be large majestic trees with drooping leaves covered in soft pine needles. Other conifer species can be small, shrub-like evergreen plants that grow well in ornamental gardens. Some examples of small conifers for your garden are dwarf spruce trees, low-growing cypress trees, or small pine evergreen bushes. One of the survival features of fir trees, cedars, junipers, yew trees, and pine trees is that they are freezing and hardy. Some species of these conifer trees can survive temperatures of -25 °C and lower.