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Difference Between Tree and Plant

Tree vs Plant

Plant and tree come under the kingdom Plantae. Tree includes is a part of plant. Therefore, there is a relationship between these two. However, there are some similarities as well as differences between plants and trees. This article is intended to discuss the characteristics of these two groups and differences between them.


Tree is a woody perennial, which has many secondary branches at the trunk (stem) with clear apical dominance. At the maturity stage, minimum height is 3m and/or minimum girth is 30cm. Woody plants, which cannot meet these requirements, are called shrubs. Most of the trees are flowering plants (Angiosperms) and conifers. There are about 100,000 tree species in the world, and it is about 25% of the total plant species. Majority of the trees are grown in the tropical region. Earliest trees were tree ferns, which were evolved at Carboniferous period. Parts of the tree are roots, stem, branches, twigs, and leaves. Woody part of the tree is comprised with xylem tissues, and bark is comprised with phloem tissues. A small group of trees are called grove or copse, and a large group of trees covering a landscape is called forest. Trees are mainly used for timber. Other than that they are used as food, firewood, medicine etc..


The word plant has two different meanings primarily, it means any member of the Kingdom Plantae. Secondly, it can be broadly used to refer the members of Kingdom Plantae that are smaller than the trees or shrubs. The groups of plants include Bryophytes, Ferns, Conifers and Flowering plants. Plants are autotrophic eukaryotes, which have adapted for life on the land. The source of energy of the plant is sunlight, and they can produce food by inorganic source of carbon. Therefore, they are called photoautotrophic. The process of food production in the plant is referred as Photosynthesis. There are about 315,000 of plant species that can be observed, and out of that around 85% are flowering plant. Plants are used in food, medicine, aesthetic purposes, and scientific and cultural purposes.


Trees are a group of plant, therefore, they are also photoautotrophic with eukaryotic cells. Also, plants, as well as, trees can photosynthesis. Both plants and trees are adapted for the life on the land.

On the other hand, they are different in many ways. Diversity of the plants is comparatively higher than trees. Plants have woody trunks, tender stems or pseudo stem, and single stem or multiple stem patterns. But tree always has single woody trunk. Most of the time, trees belong to conifers or flowering plant groups. All the trees are autotrophic, but some plants are heterotrophic. Cuscuta is an example for a heterotrophic plant. Plants are grown all over the regions of the world. But trees are mainly grown in the tropical region.

What is the difference between Tree and Plant?

• Both plants and trees are eukaryotes, and are capable of photosynthesis. Also, both are adapted for the life on land.

• Trees have woody trunks and single stem (trunk) with branches on it, and clear apical dominance is observed.

• Plants may have single stem or multiple stems, and that would be woody trunk, tender stem, or pseudo stem. Some plants may not show clear apical dominance.

• Diversity of plant is extremely higher than trees.


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  5. Difference Between Bush and Shrub

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