Plants vs Fungi: Difference and Comparison

There are nearly 8.7 million species of living beings on the earth, and studying them individually would have taken a lot of time.

Therefore, scientists spent years and years classifying the species into different kingdoms based on their characteristics, and two such kingdoms are Plants and Fungi. Initially, Fungi were also considered a plant, but later a separate kingdom was formed due to its variant characteristics.

Key Takeaways

  1. Plants produce their food through photosynthesis; fungi absorb nutrients from organic material.
  2. Plants have chlorophyll, which converts sunlight into energy; fungi lack chlorophyll.
  3. Plants reproduce with seeds, spores, or vegetative propagation; fungi reproduce via spores.

Plants vs. Fungi

Plants are multicellular organisms that can produce their food through photosynthesis. They are rooted in the ground and have various sizes and shapes. Fungi are a diverse group characterized by their ability to break down organic matter and absorb nutrients from their surroundings.

Plants vs Fungi

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPlantsFungi
Cell-Wall ComponentThe major cell-wall component in plants is cellulose which is glucose.The fungi’s body is filamentous, made up of mycelium and hyphae.
Trophic LevelThe trophic level of plants is producers.The trophic level of fungi is decomposers.
BodyThe plant’s body consists of roots, stems, and leaves.The fungi’s body is filamentous, it is made up of mycelium and hyphae.
Stored foodIn plants, the stored food is starch.In fungi, the stored food is glycogen.
ReproductionPlants reproduce by seeds.Fungi reproduce by spores.
Chlorophyll existencePlants have chlorophyll which they use to conduct photosynthesis.Fungi don’t have chlorophyll as they absorb all the nutrients from the soil.

What are Plants?

Plants are organisms from the kingdom Plantae that use photosynthesis to make food. There are more than 300,000 species present on the earth.

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Plants are important for living beings as they produce most of the world’s oxygen. They are also important in the food chain as many organisms rely on plants for survival.

Plants make their food via photosynthesis, which makes nutrients like sugars from light energy and carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis occurs in chloroplasts containing chlorophyll and carotenoids, which absorb light energy and convert it into a usable form.

Plants are essential as many organisms feed on plants. That is why they are the primary producers in many ecosystems and are responsible for the survival of all living organisms, as they are the only producers of oxygen, which is very important. Plants can reproduce both sexually and asexually and have an alteration of generations. 

There are types of plants, they are:

  1. Charophytes:  These are complex green algae that have chloroplasts in their They do sexual reproduction, and some of them have sperms with flagella.
  2. Bryophytes: These plants are nonvascular; they don’t have vascular tissue. Vascular tissue is the tissue that transports water and nutrients. These plants are found both on land and in water. Bryophytes have parts similar to stems, roots, and leaves, but those are not roots, stems, and leaves. Some examples of Bryophytes are mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.
  3. Seedless Vascular Plants: These vascular plants lack seeds and reproduce via spores. Firstly, these plants were known as pteridophytes, but later this group wasn’t considered right because of the varying properties of some plants. Some examples of this type of plant are ferns, horsetails, clubmosses, and spikemosses.
  4. Gymnosperms: The seeds of these plants are not hidden inside an ovary. Instead, their seeds are present on the surface of the leaves. Some examples are conifers, ginkgoes, and cycads.
  5. Angiosperms: These are flowering plants and the most widespread ones. There are more than 295,000 different species of such type. Their reproductive organs are flowers, with female pistils and male parts, stamen, and pollen.
plants

What are Fungi?

Fungi are a kingdom of multicellular heterotrophic organisms that play an important role in the nutrient cycle of the ecosystem. Fungi can reproduce both sexually as well as asexually.

They also share some characteristics with plants and bacteria. Fungi are both single-celled as well as muti-celled organisms.

Single-celled fungi are known as yeast. The fungi cells have a nucleus and organelles similar to plants and animals.

The cell walls of fungi have chitin and lack cellulose, which is the main element of the cell wall. Most fungi are capable of reproducing both sexually as well as asexually.

Asexual reproduction occurs through the release of spores or through the process of mycelial fragmentation, which occurs when the mycelium separates into multiple that later grows separately. In sexual reproduction, separate individuals fuse their hyphae.

fungi

Main Differences Between Plants and Fungi

  1. The major cell-wall component in plants is cellulose, glucose, whereas the major cell-wall component in fungi is chitin, N-acetylglucosamine.
  2. The trophic level of plants is producers, whereas the trophic level of fungi is decomposers in the world’s ecosystem.
  3. The plant has roots, stems, and leaves, whereas the fungi’s body is filamentous and comprises mycelium and hyphae.
  4. In plants, the stored food is starch; in fungi, the stored food is glycogen.
  5. Plants reproduce by seeds, whereas Fungi reproduce by spores.
  6. Plants have chlorophyll which they use to conduct photosynthesis, whereas Fungi don’t have chlorophyll as they absorb all the nutrients from the soil.
Difference Between Plants and Fungi
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0304415788900172
  2. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/293/5532/1129.abstract
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