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Classifying Plants Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Amanda McCarthy

Amanda has been teaching for ten years and has a master's degree in elementary education.

While there might be several thousand different types of plants in the world, all these plants can be divided into two basic categories: vascular and nonvascular. Let's learn about how plants are classified.

Plants Are Almost Everywhere!

Stop for a moment and think about the last time you were outside. Maybe there was some grass on the ground or a tree nearby. Maybe you saw some bushes off in the distance or a beautiful flower growing right beside you. Plants are living organisms that are capable of making their own food. There are over 400,000 different types of plants. They are almost everywhere around us! Plants can be classified in many ways, but one simple way is to divide them into two main groups according to how they get their nutrients: vascular plants and nonvascular plants.

How Do Plants Get Nutrients?

Vascular plants contain tube-like structures that help them get nutrients from the ground. A great way to think of vascular plants is to think of a straw that you use when you drink some liquid out of a glass. Similar to the way you suck on the straw to get the liquid into your mouth, vascular plants are able to pull the nutrients up from the ground through these tube-like structures in their roots, which go up their stems and up to their leaves.

Nonvascular plants do not have tube-like structures to get nutrients, but they soak in their nutrients through their leaves. Think of a sponge an adult might use to clean dishes. Kitchen sponges soak up water. Similarly, nonvascular plants soak up the nutrients they need through spores on their leaves.

Diagram of plant groups
plant diagram

Vascular Plants

These purple flowering plants are vascular plants.
vascular plant

The most commonly known types of plants are vascular plants. Tube-like structures carry nutrients to the plant up through the roots in the soil, then up through the stem and into the plant's leaves. The leaves are where the plants are able to create their own food through a process called photosynthesis.

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