Copyright

Vascular Plants: Examples, Types & Characteristics

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Angiosperms: Characteristics, Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:06 Definition
  • 2:02 Types of Vascular Plants
  • 3:57 Size Variations
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Margaret Cunningham

Margaret has taught many Biology and Environmental Science courses and has Master's degrees in Environmental Science and Education.

This lesson will explore the characteristics of a large group of plants known as vascular plants. The lesson will also focus on the different types of vascular plants and unique examples.

Definition

Think about the largest tree you have ever seen. How do you think the tree moves water and food through that very tall trunk? Some types of plants, known as vascular plants, have a system of vessels within them that carry water and food throughout the plant. These vessels are found in the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant.

The vascular vessels are divided into two types based on what they transport. The phloem are vessels on the outer layer of the stem that transport food materials, such as sugars from the leaves where they are produced or from storage tissues, to the rest of the plant. If a tree is cut, you can often see sap seep out of the tree, and this is the contents of the phloem. If you have ever had maple syrup, it is the processed form of the sap that is found in the phloem of maple trees. The second type of vascular vessel is the xylem; these are the vessels that transport water throughout the plant. The xylem vessels carry water from the roots up the plant and to the leaves.

Not only do vascular vessels help plants move water and food more efficiently throughout the plant, they also make it possible for the plant to grow larger. By having these vessels, plants can move necessary supplies farther and therefore grow larger. These vascular vessels are similar to the closed circulatory system of humans, because both systems transport nutrients and allow the organisms to grow larger due to the ability to transport farther.

Common examples of vascular plants include trees, shrubs, grasses, flowering plants, and ferns. In Grand Canyon National Park, in the United States, there are over 1,700 known species of vascular plants. Many of these plants are also endemic to this park, meaning that they are only known to exist in this specific area.

Types of Vascular Plants

The general characteristics associated with vascular plants incorporate a broad range of plants, and therefore these plants can be divided further into more specific categories. Vascular plants can be divided by their method of reproduction. Vascular plants that reproduce by the use of spores are characterized as ferns. This type of vascular plant is often referred to as a seedless vascular plant.

The majority of vascular plants reproduce by creating seeds rather than spores and are classified as either gymnosperms or angiosperms. Gymnosperms are vascular plants that create cones to house their seeds. Common gymnosperms include large trees, such as cedars, hemlocks, pines, and spruces.

Angiosperms are vascular plants that create their seeds inside fruits or flowers and are often referred to simply as flowering plants. Some common examples of angiosperms include sunflowers, dogwood trees, elm trees, lilies, and maple trees.

Being that angiosperms are a very large group of plants, with over 250,000 known species, they are often further classified into monocots and eudicots. Monocots are known for having one original leaf from their seed, parallel veins in their leaves, flower parts in multiples of three, and a fibrous root system.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support