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Vascular & Nonvascular Plants Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Scientists have identified over 250,000 different types of plants. Learn how these plants are classified as vascular or nonvascular by understanding the similarities and differences between the two groups.

Classifying Plants

Close your eyes and think about the last time you were outside on a spring or summer day. What kinds of plants did you see? Did you see trees and flowers? Did you see moss and grass? It is pretty easy to identify plants in our surroundings. We see them all the time! Scientists, however, take it a step further. Scientists can classify plants into groups based on how they look. One way that botanists classify plants is by identifying them as vascular or nonvascular.

Vascular Plants

Most plants that we see in our daily lives, such as trees, flowers and bushes, are vascular plants. Vascular plants are higher from the ground than nonvascular plants. Vascular plants are also known as 'higher' plants because they have systems of tubes that move food and water that make them grow to be higher than nonvascular plants. Plants need food and water just like we do. Has someone ever told you to make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner to make sure you grow big and tall? This is why vascular plants are able to grow, as well.

All vascular plants do not look alike. Some vascular plants are flowering, such as a rose or an apple tree, and some are non-flowering, such as a pine tree or a fern. Also, vascular plants have roots, stems and leaves, but they might be different sizes, shapes and colors.

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