Angiosperm and gymnosperm

Angiosperms and gymnosperms are the two main groups of plants with vascular seeds. Angiosperms, which are flowering plants, are the largest and most diverse group within the kingdom Plantae. With around 300,000 species, they make up about 80 percent of all known green plants now living. Gymnosperms are a smaller and older group, consisting of plants that produce “bare seeds” that is, seeds that are not protected by a fruit. There are more than 1,000 species of gymnosperms that are still found on Earth. Today in this opportunity we want to give you information about angiosperms and gymnospermsthat will help you understand what these two terms mean and how they differ. So keep enjoying all the information that we give you this time.

Species+/- 850+ 250.000
LeavesPerennialsPerennial and expired
SeedsNakedCovered by the fruit
ClassificationCycads / Ginkgophyta / Gnetophyte / ConifersMonocotyledons / Dicotyledons

What are Angiosperms?

Angiosperms are a major division of plant life, making up the majority of all plants on Earth. Angiosperm plants produce seeds enclosed in “fruits,” which include the fruits you eat, but which also include plants that you may not consider fruits, such as maple seeds, acorns, beans, wheat, rice, and corn. Angiosperms are also known as “flowering plants” because flowers are a characteristic part of their reproductive structure, although again, you may not always recognize their flowers as the pretty, colorful petal-like things you think of when you hear. the word.

Angiosperms evolved between 250 and 200 million years ago. They quickly gained an advantage over the previously dominant plant type, gymnosperms. The use of flowers by angiosperms to reproduce made them more reproductively successful. Whereas gymnosperms relied primarily on the wind to achieve sexual reproduction by transferring pollen, which contains the male reproductive cells of plants, to the ovaries of female plants, angiosperms used brightly colored flowers and sweet smelling and sugary nectar to attract insects and other animals. This cooperative process, whereby animals such as bees pollinate flowers in exchange for nectar, made angiosperms more reproductively successful.

Angiosperms also began to enclose their seeds in fruits, which provided additional nutrition and protection for their descendant plants, and created new ways of cooperating with animals. Many angiosperm fruits, like their flowers, were designed to attract animals to eat them. In many cases, the seeds would pass safely through the animals’ digestive tracts, being carried away from the mother plant in the process. The seeds would eventually be excreted in fecal matter, which, as a bonus, is often very rich in plant nutrients. This allowed angiosperms to spread everywhere.

Characteristics of angiosperms

Angiosperms have various characteristics. The important characteristics of angiosperms are mentioned below:

  • All plants have flowers at some stage in their life. Flowers are the reproductive organs of the plant, providing them with a means of exchanging genetic information.
  • The sporophyte differentiates into stems, roots, and leaves.
  • The vascular system has true vessels in the xylem and companion cells in the phloem.
  • The stamens (microsporophyll) and carpels (megasporophyll) are organized in a structure called the flower.
  • Each microsporophyll has four microsporangia.
  • The ovules are enclosed in the ovary at the base of the megasporophyll.
  • Angiosperms are heterosporous, that is, they produce two types of spores, microspores (pollen grains) and megaspores.
  • Pollen grains are transferred from the anther to the stigma and reproduction occurs by pollination. They are responsible for the transfer of genetic information from one flower to another. Pollen grains are much smaller than the gametophytes or reproductive cells present in non-flowering plants.
  • Sporophytes are diploid.
  • The root system is very complex and is made up of bark, xylem, phloem, and epidermis.
  • The flowers undergo a double and triple fusion that leads to the formation of a diploid zygote and a triploid endosperm.
  • Angiosperms can survive in a variety of habitats, including marine habitats.
  • The fertilization process is faster in angiosperms. The seeds are also produced quickly due to the smaller female reproductive parts.
  • All angiosperms are composed of stamens that are the reproductive structures of flowers. They produce the pollen grains that carry the hereditary information.
  • Carpels enclose developing seeds that can develop into fruit.
  • Endosperm production is one of the biggest advantages of angiosperms. The endosperm forms after fertilization and is a food source for developing seeds and seedlings.

Classification of angiosperms

The classification of angiosperms is explained below:

Monocots : are those where the seeds have a single cotyledon, the leaves are simple and the veins are parallel. This group contains adventitious roots, each floral spiral has three members, has closed vascular bundles and in large numbers. For example, banana, sugar cane, lilies, etc.

Dicotyledons : the seeds of these plants have two cotyledons. They contain main roots, instead of adventitious roots, the leaves represent a reticulated venation. The flowers are tetrameric or pentameric and the vascular bundles are organized in rings. For example, grapes, sunflower, tomatoes, etc.

What is gymnosperm?

The word “gymnosperm” comes from the Greek words “gymnos” (naked) and “sperm” (seed), which is why it is known as “naked seeds.” Gymnosperms are the seed-producing plants, but unlike angiosperms, they produce fruitless seeds. These plants develop on the surface of the scales or leaves, or at the end of the stems, forming a cone-shaped structure. Gymnosperms belong to the kingdom «Plantae» and to the sub-kingdom «Embryophyta». Fossil evidence suggested that they originated during the Paleozoic era, about 390 million years ago.

Basically, gymnosperms are plants in which the ovules are not enclosed within the ovary wall, unlike angiosperms. It remains exposed before and after fertilization and before becoming a seed. The stem of gymnosperms can be branched or unbranched. The thick cuticle, needle-shaped leaves, and sunken stomata reduce the rate of water loss in these plants. The gymnosperm family consists of conifers, cycads, gnetids, and the divisional ginkgo species.

Gymnosperm characteristics

The following are the important characteristics of gymnosperms:

  • They do not produce flowers.
  • The seeds do not form inside a fruit. They are naked.
  • They are found in colder regions where snowfall occurs.
  • They develop needle-shaped leaves.
  • They are perennial or woody, forming trees or shrubs.
  • They do not differ in ovary, style, and stigma.
  • Since the stigma is absent, they are pollinated directly by the wind.
  • Male gametophytes produce two gametes, but only one of them is functional.
  • They form cones with reproductive structures.
  • The seeds contain endosperm that stores food for the growth and development of the plant.
  • These plants have vascular tissues that aid in the transport of nutrients and water.
  • The xylem has no vessels and the phloem has no companion cells or sieve tubes.

Classification of gymnosperms

Gymnosperms are classified into four types as follows:

Cycads : They are dioecious (that is, individual plants are all male or female). Cycads are seed-bearing plants where most of the members are now extinct. They had flourished during the Jurassic and late Triassic. Today, plants are considered relics of the past. These plants typically have large compound leaves, thick trunks, and small leaflets that attach to a single central stem. Its height varies between a few centimeters and several meters. Cycads are generally found in the tropics and subtropics.

Ginkgophyta – has only one living species. All other members of this class are now extinct. Ginkgo trees are characterized by their large size and fan-shaped leaves. Additionally, Ginkgo trees have a host of applications ranging from medicine to cooking. Ginkgo trees are also very resistant to pollution and are resistant to disease and insect infestations.

Gnetophytes : Like any other member of the gymnosperms, gnetophytes are also relics of the past. Today, there are only three members of this genus. Gnethophytes are usually made up of tropical plants, trees, and shrubs. They are characterized by having flowery leaves that have a soft coat. This coating reveals an ancestral connection to angiosperms.

Conifers – These are the best known species of the gymnosperm family. They are evergreen; that is why they do not lose their leaves in winter. These are mainly characterized by male and female cones that form needle-like structures. Coniferous trees are generally found in temperate zones where the average temperature is 10 ℃. Giant sequoias, pines, cedars, and redwoods are one of the many examples of conifers. 

Differences between angiosperm and gymnosperm

The key difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms is how their seeds develop. Angiosperm seeds develop in the flower ovaries and are surrounded by protective fruit. The flowers can be unisexual (for example, male and female flowers) or bisexual (the flower has both male and female parts). Gymnosperm seeds generally form in unisexual cones, known as strobili, and the plants lack fruit and flowers. Both groups use pollen to facilitate fertilization, although angiosperms have an incredible diversity of pollination strategies not found among gymnosperms.

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