The key difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms is that angiosperms have flowers and fruits while gymnosperms have no flowers or fruits.
Seed plants produce seeds. There are two major groups of seed plants: angiosperms (flowering plants) and gymnosperms. Angiosperms bear closed seeds inside fruits while gymnosperms bear naked seeds. Moreover, angiosperms produce a characteristic flower as their reproductive structure while gymnosperms have no flowers. Likewise, there are vast differences between angiosperms and gymnosperms.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Angiosperms
3. What are Gymnosperms
4. Similarities Between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms
5. Side by Side Comparison – Angiosperms vs Gymnosperms in Tabular Form
What are Angiosperms?
Angiosperms or anthophytes are the most advanced plants in the kingdom Plantae. The dominant plant is the sporophyte, which may be dioecious or monoecious. The sporophyte consists of a highly differentiated true stem, leaves and roots. They also possess well-developed vascular tissue. Moreover, the xylem contains vessels, and the phloem contains sieve tubes and companion cells. They possess a highly differentiated reproductive structure, which is the flower. Furthermore, the anthophytes are heterosporous. The ovules develop within the ovary. The ovaries develop by the folding of megasporophylls called carpels.
Moreover, angiosperms possess a pollen tube to carry male nuclei or gametes towards the ovum. Therefore, no external water or internal fluids are necessary for fertilization. Thus, the spermatozoids are non-motile. Most importantly, double fertilization occurs in angiosperms, forming a diploid embryo and a triploid endosperm. Also, they produce true seeds enclosed inside the fruit.
Furthermore, the angiosperms have a well-defined mechanical tissues. They have a fully developed vascular system with vessels, sieve tubes and companion cells. They also have a highly differentiated plant body into roots, stems and leaves. In addition, they have a well-developed cuticle and seeds. All these characteristics have made them more suitable for terrestrial life.
What are Gymnosperms?
Gymnosperms are also seed-bearing plants that include conifers, cycads, ginkgo, and Gnetales. Their dominant plant is a sporophyte that differentiated into leaves, stem and roots. Vascular and mechanical tissues are present in these plants. Moreover, gymnosperms have two types of leaves. Vegetative leaves are large and pinnately compound. Young leaves show circinate vernation.
Also, these are dioecious plants, and female plant bears a crown of megasporophylls, while male plant bears microsporophylls in a cone. Here, the megasporophylls bear naked or exposed ovules on their lateral margin. And, these naked ovules become seeds after fertilization. Besides, similar to angiosperms, gymnosperms are also heterosporous. Both male and female gametophytes are small and dependent on the sporophyte. Also, no external water is necessary for their fertilization. The seed germinates to give rise to the sporophyll.
A common example of cycads is cycas. Cycas sporophyte resembles a palm. It possesses a taproot system with secondary roots branching off. Some roots of gymnosperms called coralloid roots are negatively geotropic. In the cortex of these roots, there are cyanobacteria living symbiotically. The stem is pillar-like and bears a crown of leaves at the apex. The stem is full of leaf scars and shows secondary thickenings as well.
What are the Similarities Between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms?
- Angiosperms and gymnosperms are seed plants.
- They are also vascular plants.
- The sporophyte is the dominant plant of both groups, so both have a reduced gametophytic phase.
- They have well-developed plant structure.
- Moreover, both types are heterosporous.
What is the Difference Between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms?
Angiosperms produce enclosed seeds, flowers and fruits while gymnosperms produce naked seeds and do not produce fruits or flowers. So, this is the key difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms. Furthermore, gymnosperms produce male and female cones, while angiosperms do not produce cones.
Moreover, a further difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms is that the angiosperms carry out double fertilization while gymnosperms do not carry out double fertilization. When considering their sperms, sperms of gymnosperms have flagella while sperms of angiosperms do not have flagella. Therefore, we can consider this too as a difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms.
Summary – Angiosperms vs Gymnosperms
In brief, angiosperms and gymnosperms are two groups of seed plants. The key difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms depends on the seed of each group. Angiosperms have seeds enclosed with fruits while gymnosperms have naked seeds. Furthermore, angiosperms produce a flower while gymnosperms do not produce a flower. Another unique feature of angiosperms is the double fertilization, which is absent in gymnosperms. Thus, this summarizes the difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms.