The key difference between tree and plant is that the tree is a woody perennial plant that possesses a straight unbranched trunk while the plant is a member of kingdom Plantae.
Kingdom Plantae is one of the five kingdoms of living organisms that includes photosynthetic, immobile green colour multicellular eukaryotes. They are photoautotrophs. They produce their own foods from inorganic carbon by obtaining energy from sunlight. There are different groups of plants. Among them, trees are bigger plants that possess a trunk. Though all the members of kingdom Plantae refer as plants, specific names such as trees, shrubs, etc. are also using to categorize plants. The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between tree and plant.
What is a Tree?
The tree is a woody perennial plant, which has many secondary branches at the trunk (stem) with clear apical dominance. At the maturity stage, the minimum height is 3m, and minimum circumference is 30cm. Shrubs are the woody plants, which cannot meet the requirements mentioned above. 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 present in the tropical region.
Earliest trees were tree ferns that evolved at the Carboniferous period. A tree has different major parts such as roots, stem, branches, twigs, and leaves, etc. Woody part of the tree consists of xylem tissues while the bark consists of phloem tissues. A grove or copse is a small group of trees while a forest is a landscape that covers from a large group of trees. Timber production is the main use of trees. Furthermore, they provide food, firewood, medicine etc.
What is a Plant?
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.
Moreover, 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 the inorganic source of carbon. Hence, they are photoautotrophic organisms. Photosynthesis is the process they carry out to produce their own foods. There are about 315,000 of plant species that can be observed, and out of that, around 85% are flowering plants. Plants are extremely important since they provide food, medicine, aesthetic value and scientific and cultural needs, etc.
What are the Similarities Between Tree and Plant?
- Tree and plant belong to kingdom Plantae.
- They are multicellular eukaryotes.
- Furthermore, they are photosynthetic organisms. Hence, they are photoautotrophs.
- Also, both appear in green colour.
- Moreover, both contain chloroplasts and chlorophylls.
- They are immobile organisms.
- Both plants and trees are adapted for the life on the land.
What is the Difference Between Tree and Plant?
The tree is a woody perennial plant that possesses a straight trunk. Hence, trees are a group of plants. On the other hand, a plant is a member of the kingdom Plantae. Therefore, this is the key difference between tree and plant. Also, diversity of the plants is comparatively higher than trees. Thus, it is another difference between tree and plant. Furthermore, the tree always has a single woody trunk while plant can have woody trunks, tender stems or pseudostem, and single stem or multiple stem patterns. So, this is another difference between tree and plant.
Most of the time, trees belong to conifers or flowering plant groups, and they 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.
Below is an infographic on the difference between tree and plant.
Summary – Tree vs Plant
A tree is a woody perennial plant. Characteristically it has a trunk, and it is a bigger and taller plant. Here, the plant refers to a member of kingdom Plantae. Also, plant can be a shrub, moss, fern, tree, etc. But, tree belongs to a specific group of plants. Hence, compared to trees, plants have a great diversity. All trees are photosynthetic hence photoautotrophs, while some plants are heterotrophic. Thus, this is the difference between tree and plant.
1.”A big tree and a touch of sun (8069887766)”By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada – A big tree and a touch of sun, (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”My small plant”By Sowndharyasakthivel – Own work, (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia