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THE PLANT KINGDOM

Vascular Plants
Vascular plants (also known as tracheophytes or higher plants) are those plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant. Vascular plants include the ferns, clubmosses, flowering plants, conifers and other gymnosperms. Scientific names for the group include Tracheophyta and Tracheobionta[citation needed], but neither name is very widely used.[citation needed]

Bryophytes
Bryophytes are seedless plants without specialized water-conducting tissues. Bryophytes include mosses (phylum Bryophyta), liverworts (phylum Marchantiophyta Hepatophyta), and hornworts (phylum Anthocerophyta). They are plants that virtually everyone has seen, but many have ignored. The most commonly encountered group is the green mosses that cover rotting logs, anchor to the bark of trees, and grow in the spray of waterfalls, along streams and in bogs. Even though mosses often thrive in wet habitats, many mosses and some liverworts can survive in relatively dry environments such as sandy soils and exposed rock outcrops.

The liverworts can take leafy forms, which are very similar superficially to mosses, but differ in the details of leaf size and arrangement. Other liverwort genera are characterized by a thallus made up of relatively small, flattened, ribbonlike segments of photosynthetic tissue, which have the general appearance of short, branched pieces of rich dark green egg noodles or linguini. The leafy liverworts and the mosses differ in the appearance of their spore-forming structures. The mosses have thin stalks called seta extending from the ends of leafy branches. Seta bear capsules, which produce spores. The leafy and thalloid liverworts have very small, balloon-shaped spore-producing stages that remain virtually hidden within, and totally dependent upon, the photosynthetic plant tissues. The third major group of bryophytes is the hornworts. They received this common name because their spore producing structures, called sporangia, are generally long, slender, hornlike, and without capsules. More than eighteen thousand different bryophyte species have been identified throughout the world, and there are perhaps ten thousand species of moss, approximately eight thousand liverwort species, and only a little more than one hundred species of hornworts.

Liverworts can either resemble mosses or have the general appearance of short, branched pieces of rich, dark green egg noodles.

Introduction to the Spermatophytes

The seed plants

The spermatophytes, which means "seed plants", are some of the most important organisms on Earth. Life on land as we know it is shaped largely by the activities of seed plants. Soils, forests, and food are three of the most apparent products of this group. Seed-producing plants are probably the most familiar plants to most people, unlike mosses, liverworts, horsetails, and most other seedless plants which are overlooked because of their size or inconspicuous appearance. Many seedplants are large or showy. Conifers are seed plants; they include pines, firs, yew, redwood, and many other large trees. The other major group of seed-plants are the flowering plants, including plants whose flowers are showy, but also many plants with reduced flowers, such as the oaks, grasses, and palms.