Difference Between Plants And Protists

Plants and Protists are two terms used in biology or the study of living organisms. They both are eukaryotic organisms i.e. organism whose cells contains a nucleus and have membrane-bound organelles.


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The classification of eukaryotic organisms is divided into four kingdoms: Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia kingdom. Plants belong to the Plantae kingdom and Protists belong to the Protista kingdom.

There are many differences between the two organisms.

Plants vs Protists

The difference between plants and protists is that plants are multicellular while protists can be unicellular or multicellular. Also, protists are microscopic while plants are big and can be seen from the naked eye. Another difference is that plants have their roots fixed and they can’t move while protists can move.

Plants vs Protists

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Plants are living organisms and belong to the Plantae kingdom. They are multicellular organisms and are autotrophs. They are the primary producers, as a human our primary source of food and oxygen.

There are over 3 lakhs species of plant on earth. Plants are used for many things including medicinal purposes.

Protists belong to the Protista kingdom. They can be unicellular or multicellular organisms. Protists have various species including parasites species and decomposers.

Protists have a cellular structure that helps them move and feed as well as act as sensory organs. Some protists can cause diseases to animals as well as to humans.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPlantsProtists
KingdomPlants belong to the Plantae kingdom.Protists belong to the Protista kingdom.
Cellular OrganismsThey are always multi-cellular.They can be unicellular or multi-cellular.
MovementThey cannot move.They have a cellular structure that helps to act as a sensory organ and helps move.
HabitatThey grow on fertile land.They need water to survive and so mostly find in water bodies.
RespirationThey are aerobic.They can be either aerobic or anaerobic.

What are Plants?

Plants are living organisms that are our main source of food and oxygen.

They produce their own food via photosynthesis. Chloroplast has chlorophyll which absorbs sunlight to produce food and through chlorophyll, plants get the color green.

Plants are aerobic, they have their cellular respiration system. They give us fruits, flowers, seeds, vegetables, etc. Also, absorb Carbon-di-oxide and give oxygen, they make our world a living habitat.

There are more than 3 lakh species of plants out of over 200 thousand produce seeds. They generally grow on fertile land. The study of plants is known as botany.

Plants are always multi-cellular in nature, i.e. contain more than one cell. And the natural DNA strands in them make them complex. Due to these genes, the plant cells differentiate the type of plant.

According to function and structure, the plants are differentiated into herbs, shrubs, saplings, trees, etc. Green algae are also considered as plants though, red and brown algae aren’t considered under plants.

Plants are rooted on the ground and so they have no movements of their own. Plants reproduce via both sexual reproductions as well as asexual reproduction.

Pollination, budding, spore formation, vegetative reproduction, etc. are some common reproduction processes.

What are Protists?

Protists are eukaryotic organisms belonging to the Protista kingdom. The study of the protists is known as protistology. The protists are very diverse, they don’t have much in common most of the time.

They can be either unicellular or multi-cellular. Some of the protists live in colonies. They have a special cellular structure that helps them move and so they move as colonies as well.

The specific species of protist make their group and some of them can reach very large sizes.

Generally, protists are very small organisms, they can only be seen via a microscope. Protists can be either autotrophs or heterotrophs.

The parasitic and decomposing species of protists have also been observed. Protists are further classified into three sub-divisions: Protozoa, Protophyta and Mold.

Protists mostly need water to survive and so they are mostly found in water bodies, muddy areas, or areas with moisture. They can also be found in the animal’s digestive tracts. Protists can be harmful to animals and humans as they can cause diseases.

Protists also reproduce via both sexual or asexual reproduction processes like plants. Although, they rarely reproduce via the sexual reproduction process, only during stressful times.

They sexually reproduce via the meiosis process and asexually via the mitosis process. Some of the protists are amoeba, ciliates, diatoms, etc.

Main Differences Between Plants And Protists

  1. Plants belong to the Plantae kingdom while Protists belong to the protists kingdom of the eukaryotic organisms.
  2. Plants are multicellular organisms while protists can be either unicellular or multicellular.
  3. Plants don’t have any movements while protists have.
  4. Plants can be seen with the naked eye while protists can’t. Protists can be seen through a microscope.
  5. Plants are more complex organisms than protists.
  6. Plants are primary producers, i.e. autotrophs. Protists are either autotrophs or heterotrophs.
  7. Plants are aerobic, they have their respiration system while protists can be either aerobic or anaerobic.
  8. Plants grow on land while protists need water and so they are mostly found near water bodies or muddy areas.
  9. The study of plants is known as botany while the study of protists is known as protistology.
Difference Between Plants And Protists
  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19550301152
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s002390010211.pdf
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