Difference Between Bryophytes and Tracheophytes

Bryophytes vs Tracheophytes

There have been many attempts for classification of plant species but fail on account of common features. The most basic classification of plant species is between Bryophytes and Tracheophytes. Every plant found on earth is either a tracheophyte or a bryophyte. There are many botany students who fail to understand the difference between plant types. This article will explain the two categories of plants by highlighting their features.


Tracheophytes are also referred to as higher plants because of the presence of a vascular system. These are plants having special tissues called xylem that perform the function of transporting water and nutrients from roots to leaves. They also have phloem that performs the function of transporting the carbohydrates made by plants through the process of photosynthesis in the leaves to all other parts of the plant. These carbohydrates are carried in the form of a sap. All ferns shrubs, grasses, bramble, cacti, bushes, scrubs and trees are thus tracheophytes because of a well developed vascular system.


On the other hand, there is a lack of vascular system in bryophytes. They are characterized by an absence of this complex transport system performed by specialized complex tissues and cells. Though some of the bryophytes show presence of rhizomes, none of them have roots. The result is that every cells in bryophytes has to fend for itself and absorb nutrients and water on its own rather than depending upon a special transport system for nutritional needs. There is no transference of nutritional products from one plant part to another in bryophytes. This means that bryophytes can prosper only when they are in close proximity to water or at least are in areas where humidity is high. Bryophytes have adapted to dry and warm climates by becoming dormant. They survive hot and dry climates by going dormant. In sharp contrast, tracheophytes rarely go dormant but when they do, it is to survive hostile cold weather.

What is the difference between Bryophytes and Tracheophytes?

In the absence of tissues for transportation of water and nutrients, bryophytes have no option but to grow horizontally rather than growing vertically as is the case with tracheophytes. This ensures that all plant parts remain near to resources. In comparison, most of the tracheophytes become tall, thus becoming more able to carry out photosynthesis. Some very tall trees are perfect examples of this ability of plants.

Some examples of bryophytes are mosses, hornworts and liverworts. Scientists believe that bryophytes are the earliest plant forms and tracheophytes evolved gradually from these bryophytes.

Bryophytes vs Tracheophytes

• Plant species are broadly classified into bryophytes and tracheophytes.

• Tracheophytes are plants that have a well developed vascular system that consists of tissues called xylem that carry out the function of transportation of water from roots to other parts and phloem that transport carbohydrate manufactured through photosynthesis to other parts of the plant.

• Bryophytes are plants lacking in this well developed vascular system and here each cell has to meet its nutritional need on its own.

• All grasses, ferns, shrubs, cacti, bushes and trees are examples of tracheophytes.

• Mosses, liverworts and hornworts are examples of bryophytes.