Difference Between Sap and Resin

Sap and resin, although related to plants, are two very different things. Both are secreted by plants and are extremely beneficial. The sap is a viscous fluid with a viscosity even lower than that of honey. Resin is a sticky, solid kind of secretion that is highly sought after for its chemical qualities and applications.

Sap vs Resin

The main difference between sap and resin is that sap is a transparent, thin, watery fluid that is used by the tree to transport nutrients from one part to the other, whereas, the resin is an amber-coloured, thick, sticky, and tacky substance and is used in manufacturing paints, glue, and food laminating agents.

Sap and Resin

The sap is a fluid carried by a plant’s xylem cells and phloem cells. The phloem is mostly composed of water, enzymes, glucose, and other elements. Xylem sap contains liquid components, enzymes, and other substances. Sap can be in either fresh or fermented form. Tree sap transports essential minerals, nutrients, and carbohydrates to all living sections of the tree.

Resins are viscous liquids that include organic solids and volatile terpene chemicals. Resins polymerize and harden over time under the correct circumstances, resulting in copal. Copal evolved from amber over thousands of years. Resin is a gummy substance that has the appearance and feel of sticky, thick glue.

Comparison Table Between Sap and Resin

Parameters of ComparisonsSapResin
DefinitionThe sap is a fluid carried by a plant’s xylem cells or phloem cells.It is a solid, paste-like substance produced by trees that serves as the raw material for polymers.
Which tree can produce?All treesOnly trees in the Pinaceae family, such as pine, fir, and cedar, can produce resin.
Where are they found?Xylem and phloem cell of a plantAn outer cell of the plant
UseUsed by the tree to transfer nutrients from one part to another.Mostly as an adhesive and medication

What is Sap?

The sap is the tree’s lifeblood. The sap is used by trees in two ways. Firstly, saps circulate the nutrients present in the soil’s water into every portion of the plant which, exit through the leaf pores. Leaf pores are microscopic holes in the skin of a plant’s leaves or stem that provide a slit with a changeable width which allows gases to move in and out of the intercellular spaces. When a tree draws water from the earth via its roots, it also draws mineral nutrients through it.

The second method is for sap to flow down the leaves into the roots and other sections of the tree. The sap contains sugar, or food, which the tree produces through photosynthesis in its leaves. Photosynthesis is the process in which green plants and other living things use sunlight to make food from carbon dioxide. The presence of the green pigment chlorophyll, as well as the creation of oxygen as a byproduct, distinguishes photosynthesis in plants.

Apart from slathering cakes and muffins, tree sap has a variety of applications. Early immigrants learned from Native Americans how to tap a tree and transform maple tree sap into maple syrup and sugar. Sap can be collected by plucking specific trees. Because sap is the tree’s blood, it contains critical mineral components, hormones, and other nutrients. CO2 is emitted as sap travels through the pericarp of a tree.

What is Resin?

Resin is produced in the outer layers of cells of the trees. This layer is also known as the inner and outer bark. Another name for the outer bark is phloem. It is visible that resin flows out of the bark of a resin-producing tree. The resin is designed to function similarly to scab in that it seals the wound and protects it from the environment while it heals.

Resin is sticky and transparent. It is made up of substances released or deposited by the tree and can have high levels of chemical characteristics. Consequently, it is used for a variety of commercial and industrial purposes. Resin is used to make ink, lacquer, varnish, jewellery, fragrances, and a variety of other industrial items. Turpentine is also manufactured using resin.

Resins are viscous liquids that include organic solids and volatile terpene chemicals. Resins are plant products. It is not water-soluble and gets hardened when exposed to the air. They serve no use in the plant’s vital functions, however, they are still frequently produced by woody plants. Even if a plant is injured, the bark of a tree, an herb, or the buds of a shrub can all produce resin. It thickens and solidifies the excess amount under the right conditions, culminating in copal.

Main Differences Between Sap and Resin

  • The sap is the sugar present in the xylem and phloem cells of trees. Resin is a liquid substance found in the outer bark of plants.
  • The sap is often golden or whitish, viscous, and slimy. On the other hand, the resin is red, transparent, and hard.
  • The sap is essentially a combination of sugar and water. Resin is defined as a material that is very fluid at first and hardens after being treated.
  •  All trees can produce sap to some extent, but resin is only found in the Pinaceae family of plants, which includes pine, fir, and cedar trees.
  • The sap is used to seal boats, food vessels, as well as a number of other objects. Resin is also commonly used in the production of several products like inks, lacquer, varnish, jewellery, and fragrances.


Coniferous or evergreen trees, such as pine, cedar, and Douglas fir, generate sap as well as tree resin. For thousands of years, humans have used resins as adhesives and for medications.

Tree sap distributes essential minerals, nutrients, and carbohydrates to all living components of the tree. The tree’s continuous supply of watery sap keeps the leaves turgid rather than withering. Because resins do not circulate constantly through the vascular tissue of the tree, it has little effect on turgor pressure and wilt prevention. Resin secreted and seeping through resin ducts, and commonly escaping through coniferous tree bark, has a protective role in the reaction to insect or disease injury.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00982102
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2486.1997.00096.x
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