The main difference between flowering plants and conifers is that flowering plants are angiosperms, which produce flower as the reproductive structure whereas conifers belong to the division Pinophyta, a group of gymnosperms whose reproductive structure is cones. Moreover, the ovary encloses the seeds of the flowering plants while conifers produce naked seeds.
Flowering plants and conifers are two groups of higher plants. It means; they are vascular plants whose plant body is differentiated into stem, roots, and leaves. Both do not require water for sexual reproduction.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Flowering Plants
– Definition, Characteristics, Reproduction
2. What are Conifers
– Definition, Characteristics, Reproduction
3. What are the Similarities Between Flowering Plants and Conifers
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Flowering Plants and Conifers
– Comparison of Key Differences
Cones, Conifers, Flower, Flowering Plants, Leaves, Seed, Xylem and Phloem
What are Flowering Plants
Flowering plants or angiosperms are the most adaptable group of plants for the terrestrial environment. Therefore, this group contains the highest number of species on the earth, including trees, shrubs, and herbs. Flowering plants consist of a specialized type of vascular system. Their xylem contains both tracheids and xylem vessels while their phloem contains both sieve tube elements associated with the companion cells. These specializations increase the efficiency of conduction.
For instance, the second characteristic feature of the flowering plants is the production of a flower as the reproductive structure. Both male and the female reproductive organs occur inside the flower. However, the flower can be either unisexual or bisexual. The ovules occur inside the ovary. Therefore, their seed is also covered by the ovary, which develops into the fruit later.
What are Conifers
Conifers or pinophytes are the other group of higher plants with a long lifespan. They stay evergreen for a long period of time as well. Most conifers are woody plants. Their leaves are needle-like in order to prevent water loss. Therefore, conifers are more adapted to live in areas covered with snow during the winter. However, their xylem contains only tracheids while the phloem contains only sieve cells for conduction.
In comparison to flowering plants, conifers do not produce flowers. The reproductive structures of conifers are the unsexual cones. Male cones comprise microsporophylls that produce microspores while the female cones comprise megasporophylls that produce megaspores. However, just like flowering plants, conifers produce very small gametophytes that produce gametes. More significantly, the seed of the conifers is not covered by the ovary; hence, they do not produce a fruit. Thereby, the seed of the conifers is considered naked.
Similarities Between Flowering Plants and Conifers
- Flowering plants and conifers are the two groups of higher plants on the land.
- Both are vascular plants whose plant body is differentiated into stem, root, and leaves.
- Moreover, they undergo the alteration of generations with a prominent sporophyte.
- Also, they are heterosporous and produce both megaspores and microspores.
- Furthermore, both types of plants do not produce archegonia.
- Male and the female gametophytes of these plants are very small.
- In addition, both produce pollen and ovules for fertilization.
- Besides, their fertilization of gametes does not require water.
- Both produce seeds; hence, both types of plants are broadly categorized into a single group called Spermatophyta.
- Also, the mode of seed germination can be either hypogeal or epigeal.
- Their stem undergoes both primary and secondary growth.
Difference Between Flowering Plants and Conifers
Flowering plants refer to plants of a large group that comprises those that have flowers and produce seeds enclosed within a carpel, including herbaceous plants, shrubs, grasses, and most trees. Conifers refer to plants of a group that comprises those that have seeds unprotected by an ovary or fruit, including the conifers, cycads, and ginkgo. From these definitions, we can understand the main difference between flowering plants and conifers.
Also, flowering plants belong to a large unranked taxonomic group known as Angiosperms while conifers belong to the division Pinophyta under Gymnosperms, which is a similar taxonomic group to the Angiosperms.
There are around 300,000 of flowering plant species on earth while there are more than 600 species of conifers on earth.
Types of Trees
Moreover, flowering plants can be either trees, shrubs or herbs while conifers are mainly woody plants.
Shape of the leaf is an important difference between flowering plants and conifers. The leaves of flowering plants are flat while the leaves of conifers are scale-like.
Another difference between flowering plants and conifers is that the xylem of flowering plants contains vessels while the xylem of conifers only contains tracheids but not vessels.
The phloem of flowering plants contains sieve tubes with companion cells while the phloem of conifers does not contain sieve tubes and companion cells. Hence, this is also a difference between flowering plants and conifers.
Furthermore, flowering plants are mostly seasonal while conifers are mostly evergreen. Furthermore, flowering plants are not-perennials while conifers are perennials.
One more difference between flowering plants and conifers is that flowering plants produce softwood while conifers produce hardwood.
Besides, flowering plants often undergo vegetative reproduction methods while vegetative reproduction methods are less common in conifers. Thus, this is another difference between flowering plants and conifers.
Both male and female reproductive structures of flowering plants occur in the flower while reproductive structures of conifers occur in cones. Furthermore, the flower can be either unisexual or bisexual while cones are always unisexual.
Placement of Ovules
The ovules of flowering plants are covered by the ovary while the ovules of conifers are attached to the megasporophylls.
One other difference between flowering plants and conifers is that flowering plants do not produce archegonia while conifers have archegonia.
The pollination of flowering plants mainly occurs via animals while the pollination of conifers mainly occurs through the wind.
The sperms of flowering plants do not contain flagella while the sperms of conifers have flagella.
Flowering plants undergo double fertilization while conifers do not undergo double fertilization. Therefore, the endosperm and the plant body of the flowering plants are triploid while those in conifers are haploid. This is another difference between flowering plants and conifers.
The seeds of the flowering plants are covered by a fruit while the seeds of the conifers are naked.
The embryo of flowering plants contains one or two cotyledons while the embryo of conifers contains one or more cotyledons.
While flowering plants are used in food, medication, and clothing, conifers are used for lumber and papers.
Flowering plants produce a special reproductive structure called the flower. They undergo double fertilization to produce a triploid endosperm. The seed of the flowering plants is covered by a fruit. On the other hand, conifers produce unisexual cones as the reproductive structures. They do not undergo double fertilization and the seed of the conifer is naked. Therefore, the main difference between flowering plants and conifers is the features of sexual reproduction.