Difference Between Stem And Trunk

Stem and trunk are very common terms we heard in botany or the study of plants. Both these terms are names of a part of a plant or a tree.

Both these are confusing but they both play an essential though different role in the survival of the plant. Both stem and trunk provide support to the other parts of the plant.

Stem vs Trunk

The main difference between stem and trunk is that stem is a term used for a plant and the term trunk is used for a tree. The stem is one of the two main structural axes of the plant, the root is the other one. While the trunk is the main structural axis of the tree.

Stem vs Trunk

Stem provides the structure to the plant and its other parts. Leaves, buds, fruits, and flowers all are attached to a stem. The stems are green in color.

Plants of every type have a stem in as their part. Stem transports the water from the roots to all the parts of the plant, store the nutrients as well as produces new living tissues.

A trunk provides support to the whole tree, it supports the branches and connects the tree to its roots and leaves. The trunk is hard and has a tough-hard texture, and is brown. The trunk of the tree is used to make paper, furniture, etc.

Comparison Table Between Stem And Trunk

Parameters of ComparisonStemTrunk
DefinitionThe stem is one of the structural axes of the plant.The trunk is the structural axis of the tree that helps support the tree.
BarkUsually, the stem is not covered in bark, if it does it is smooth.Trunk’s bark is rough and hard.
ColorStems are green.The trunks are brown or grey.
Connected withThe stem is directly connected to leaves and buds.The trunk is not directly connected to the leaves.
Used ForStems are sometimes consumed as food.The trunk is used for making paper, furniture, etc.

What is a Stem?

The stem is the main structure axis of the plant. There are two main structural axes of a plant, one being the stem and the other being the root.

Stems support the plant to grow, it is attached to leaves, flowers, and fruits. The stems are mostly green in color. Stems do not necessarily cover with bark, if they are they are smooth, not rough.

Stems provide the plant with all the nutrition it needs. Stems act as the passageway, it transports the water and other nutrients from the roots to the parts of the plant.

Stems consist of nodes and internodes. Nodes are the points from where the leaves, or branches grow and internodes are the part of the stem between the nodes.

There are three vascular vessels in the stem: xylem, phloem, and cambium. The xylem helps in the transportation of water and nutrients.

The phloem carries the food to the other parts which are made from photosynthesis. And the Cambium helps in supporting the stem as it contains connective tissues.

Stems are also used for asexual reproduction in plants. The stems are grafted or cut down to grow another plant of the same breed through it.

Sometimes, stems of two different plants are also used to make a new plant of the same species like stems of red rose and white rose are combined to make a new flower plant of red-white rose.

What is Trunk?

A trunk is the structure axis of the tree that supports the whole tree, although the leaves are not directly connected to the trunk. The trunk has branches and the branches have leaves attached to it.

The trunk is the main axis, the main part of the tree. The trunk works as the transporter of nutrients from roots to the whole tree, just like stems in plants.

The trunk is usually brown or grey and has a rough texture. It is covered with a hard bark and is hardwood in nature. And the trunk has rings which help in finding out the age of the tree.

These rings are divided into layers, the outermost layer is the bark which is the protective layer. The other layers are cambium, sapwood, heartwood, and pith, Pith being the innermost layer.

After cutting down the tree, the trunk of the tree is used to make many things like timber, paper, furniture, Cricket bats, wooden pieces, etc.

Although, the trunks are inspected first as the trunks are also damaged sometimes due to sunburn, parasites, fungi, etc.

Trunks are in every tree, either they are woody ones or non-woody ones. The trunks grow with time as well, they grow thick over time, which happens because of the formation of secondary growth.

Main Differences Between Stem And Trunk

  1. The stem is the structural axis of plants while the trunk is of the trees.
  2. The stem supports the leaves, flowers, and fruits. The trunk does not support the leaves directly.
  3. Stems do not have any rings. The trunk has rings which help to know the age of the tree.
  4. Stems are green in color while the trunk is brown.
  5. Stems are covered with smooth bark while the trunk is covered with hard-roughly bark.
  6. Stems of some plants are sometimes consumed as food. The trunk of trees is used to make paper, furniture, etc.
Difference Between Stem And Trunk


The stem supports the structure of the plant. The main axis of the plant is the stem. A plant has many stems, the branches growing from the main structural axis are also called stems.

Stems support the leaves, flowers, and fruits. It has vascular bundles. The stem carries all the nutrients from roots to the plant’s parts.

A trunk is the main axis of the tree. The trunk is hard and rough and the branches of the tree grow from the trunk. The trunk has a coat of bark on the trunk.

The trunk when cut shows rings, these rings help to know the age of the tree. The trunk of the tree is brown.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1949-8594.2011.00109.x
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2010.02197.x
Search for "Ask Any Difference" on Google. Rate this post!
[Total: 0]
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️