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A Comprehensive Review of Kingdom Plantae

Peter M. Williams, Julie Zundel
  • Author
    Peter M. Williams

    Peter holds a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology and Biotechnology, and a Master's degree in Applied Microbiology. In addition, Peter has more than two years of experience in tutoring and writing academic materials for senior and junior schools, mainly in Sciences, Languages, and Humanities.

  • Instructor
    Julie Zundel

    Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Explore the kingdom Plantae. Learn about the characteristics and classification of the kingdom Plantae with examples. See facts about the plant kingdom. Updated: 10/18/2021

What is Kingdom Plantae?

The ability of plants to make food makes them vital in our world. Plants belong to the kingdom Plantae, the second largest kingdom next to the kingdom Animalia.

There are six kingdoms of life, namely: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Archaea, Protista, and Eubacteria. Kingdom Plantae is comprised of all multicellular plants found on land and water. The members of this kingdom are eukaryotic and photosynthetic. Therefore, Plantae is one of the kingdoms of life comprised of all plants on the land and in water. Kingdom Plantae belongs to the domain Eukarya.

Kingdom Plantae is comprised of three major divisions, namely: Pteridophyta, Bryophyta, and Spermatophyta. Members of kingdom Plantae are unique because they can manufacture their food, thus they are autotrophs. They convert the energy from the sun into chemical energy, a process known as photosynthesis, to manufacture their food.

Kingdom Plantae is quite important since it serves as a source of food for other organisms. Vegetables and fruits consumed by humans and animals come from plants. Also, medicinal drugs and substances can be obtained from plants to treat various ailments. Additionally, plants act as important sources of natural raw materials such as wood, oil, paper, cotton, rubber, and linen. Finally, some plants, such as lichens, act as a bio-indicator of pollution.

Definition of Kingdom Plantae

There are creatures living among us that use air and water to make sugar! Sounds magical, doesn't it? You probably take them for granted, but you shouldn't. They make the air you breathe, the food you eat, the fiber for your clothes, dyes for fabrics, the building materials for your house and the legs for your table. I could keep going but you get the idea. Kingdom plantae is one of six kingdoms of organisms, and it includes every plant you could imagine from the moss growing on the forest floor to the mighty, towering fir trees.

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A Garden Plant

A Plant

Characteristics of Kingdom Plantae

Members of the kingdom Plantae have the following characteristics:

  • They are multicellular eukaryotes.
  • Their cells have cell walls, large vacuoles but lack centrosomes. The cell wall is usually made up of cellulose, pectin, and hemicellulose.
  • They exhibit a diverse mode of nutrition. Most have chlorophyll a and b, and other pigments, thus they are typically photosynthetic or autotrophs. Some, like insectivorous plants, are heterotrophs.
  • Plants are non-motile, meaning that they are usually fixed in one place.
  • They have chloroplasts which is an organelle that evolved from single-celled algae.
  • They require mineral salts, light, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. They obtain these resources from the environment. Light and carbon dioxide are essential for the process of photosynthesis to take place.
  • Most reserve their food material in the form of starch.
  • Most reproduce through sexual, asexual, and vegetative means. Agents such as wind, air, and insects aid in this process.
  • Some members of kingdom Plantae exhibit alternation of generations, i.e., sporophyte phase and gametophyte phase.
  • Members of the kingdom Plantae do not have excretory and nervous systems.

Kingdom Plantae Examples and Classification

Specific criteria can be used in the classification of members of the kingdom Plantae. This criteria includes their primary classification, habitat, nutrition, and lifecycle. Classifying members of kingdom Plantae helps to correctly identify the plants' species and understand the diversity of kingdom Plantae.

Primary Classification

Plants can be classified using the primary criterion of either flowering or non-flowering.

The flowering plants produce flowers, and their seeds are enclosed in an ovary. Flowering plants are referred to as angiosperms. Angiosperms are further divided into monocots and dicots. The embryo of the monocots has one cotyledon while embryos in dicots have two cotyledons.

Examples of monocots include maize, grass, wheat, and sugarcane. Examples of dicots include beans, tomato, tea, and hibiscus.

Non-flowering plants do not produce flowers. Instead, they can either produce spores in specialized structures or naked seeds on their leaf surface. Non-flowering plants that produce naked seeds are referred to as the gymnosperms or cone-bearing plants. Most of them are trees and shrubs, and some examples include pine, spruce, and cypress.

Non-flowering plants that produce spores include the members of division Bryophyta and Pteridophyta. The plant body of the bryophytes is not differentiated into stem, roots, and leaves. Instead, they lack roots but have specialized structures called rhizoids used for anchorage and water absorption. Examples of bryophytes include mosses and liverworts.

On the other hand, pteridophytes have roots and shoot systems. In addition, they have a vascular system with compound leaves, known as fronds. Examples of pteridophytes include ferns and horsetails.

Both pteridophytes and bryophytes exhibit alternation of generations. Sporophyte is the main plant in pteridophytes. In bryophytes, sporophyte is usually attached to the gametophyte.

Based on Habit

Members of kingdom Plantae can also be classified based on shape, form, or size habits. These criteria include:

The herbs — They are also referred to as herbaceous plants. They can either have a relatively short or longer life span depending on the plant species. Their stems are green, soft, and short. Examples of herbs include wheat, gram, tomato, grass, onions, carrots, and potato.

The shrubs — They are also referred to as shrubby or fruticose plants. They are larger than the herbs, and their stem has no central axis. The shrubs are usually woody and branches. Examples of shrubs include rose, barberry, hibiscus, ivy, oak, sage, lantana, and thyme.

Hibiscus Plant- An Example of a Shrub

Hibiscus

The trees — They are also referred to as the arborescent. They are larger than herbs and shrubs. They are complex and woody, possessing a prominent trunk. Examples of trees include fig tree, oak, eucalyptus, pine, baobab, mahogany, and pine.

Based on Nutrition

Plants can also be classified based on their mode of nutrition. The two primary modes of nutrition are autotrophic nutrition and heterotrophic nutrition.

Plants exhibiting the autotrophic mode of nutrition are known as autotrophs or primary producers. They manufacture their food by converting light energy from the sun into chemical energy. Autotrophs possess chlorophyll and include corn, wheat, and potato.

The Six Kingdoms

Taxonomists, or scientists who classify organisms, continually modify and adjust the classification system as new species are discovered. Here is a list of the five other kingdoms with one example organism, just so you can get an idea how plants compare.

  • Animalia: this is you and me and all other animals
  • Protista: this is the paramecium you might find in pond water
  • Fungi: the mushrooms on your pizza
  • Eubacteria: these are the bacteria growing on your skin
  • Archaebacteria: these are the bacteria living in extreme conditions, like the salty Great Salt Lake in Utah

Characteristics of the Kingdom Plantae

What makes plants unique from the other kingdoms, and how can moss and a fir tree be in the same kingdom? Kingdoms are grouped based on shared characteristics, and plants have quite a few.

Plants are autotrophs, meaning they can make their own food. Animals, in contrast, are heterotrophs, so they must consume other organisms for food. Plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis where the plant takes carbon dioxide gas, water and light and transforms these three ingredients into sugar and oxygen.

The process of photosynthesis
photosynthesis

Remember, carbon dioxide from the air and water from the roots and energy from the sun combine to make oxygen and sugar.

Most plants are multicellular, meaning they are made up of more than one cell. Simple organisms, like bacteria, are unicellular meaning their whole body consists of just one cell. Plants are eukaryotes, which means their cells are more complex than those of prokaryotes (bacteria). Plants have cell walls, which is an additional structure that makes the cells more rigid. Plants are sessile, which means they can't move around.

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Video Transcript

Definition of Kingdom Plantae

There are creatures living among us that use air and water to make sugar! Sounds magical, doesn't it? You probably take them for granted, but you shouldn't. They make the air you breathe, the food you eat, the fiber for your clothes, dyes for fabrics, the building materials for your house and the legs for your table. I could keep going but you get the idea. Kingdom plantae is one of six kingdoms of organisms, and it includes every plant you could imagine from the moss growing on the forest floor to the mighty, towering fir trees.

The Six Kingdoms

Taxonomists, or scientists who classify organisms, continually modify and adjust the classification system as new species are discovered. Here is a list of the five other kingdoms with one example organism, just so you can get an idea how plants compare.

  • Animalia: this is you and me and all other animals
  • Protista: this is the paramecium you might find in pond water
  • Fungi: the mushrooms on your pizza
  • Eubacteria: these are the bacteria growing on your skin
  • Archaebacteria: these are the bacteria living in extreme conditions, like the salty Great Salt Lake in Utah

Characteristics of the Kingdom Plantae

What makes plants unique from the other kingdoms, and how can moss and a fir tree be in the same kingdom? Kingdoms are grouped based on shared characteristics, and plants have quite a few.

Plants are autotrophs, meaning they can make their own food. Animals, in contrast, are heterotrophs, so they must consume other organisms for food. Plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis where the plant takes carbon dioxide gas, water and light and transforms these three ingredients into sugar and oxygen.

The process of photosynthesis
photosynthesis

Remember, carbon dioxide from the air and water from the roots and energy from the sun combine to make oxygen and sugar.

Most plants are multicellular, meaning they are made up of more than one cell. Simple organisms, like bacteria, are unicellular meaning their whole body consists of just one cell. Plants are eukaryotes, which means their cells are more complex than those of prokaryotes (bacteria). Plants have cell walls, which is an additional structure that makes the cells more rigid. Plants are sessile, which means they can't move around.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are examples of members of the kingdom Plantae?

Some examples of members in the plant kingdom include mosses, liverworts, ferns, trees, shrubs, herbs, and corn-bearing plants such as pine and spruce.

Which organisms are in the plant kingdom?

The organisms of the kingdom Plantae include all plants on the land and in water. They include the bryophytes, pteridophytes and the spermatophytes.

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