Tracheophytes Definition | Tracheophytes Examples & Characteristics


Tracheophytes are vascular plants with lignified and non-lignified tissues that include angiosperms, clubmosses, ferns, horsetails, and gymnosperms. Compared to non-vascular plants, these plants have vascular tissues that allow them to grow to large sizes.

Nutrients and water in the form of organic solutes are distributed throughout the plant body by the xylem, and the phloem disseminates organic compounds such as sugar formed during photosynthesis in leaves through sieve tube elements.

Tracheophytes begin as sporophytes, which are usually diploid with two sets of chromosomes per cell instead of non-vascular plants, which begin as gametophytes, which are haploid with one set of chromosomes, and only the spores, stalk, and capsule are diploid.

Herbaceous tracheophytes are plants that do not have a wooded stem, such as petunias and other annual ornamental plants such as ferns, lavender, or aster, as well as fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Tracheophyte consists of 260,000 species, including all of Earth’s influential flora, and is thought to have evolved from green algae, the fossils of which were discovered 400,000,000 years ago in Silurian rocks.

Tracheophytes Characteristics

Tracheophytes have the following characteristics:

  • They have a root, a stem, and leaves.
  • Their stems, roots, and leaves all have vascular systems.
  • Tracheophytes have covered sporangia, which has resulted in the evolution of the seed.
  • They form a pollen tunnel. As a result, they do not need water to transmit male gametes to female gametes.
  • They produce flowers and fruits.
  • They exhibit heteromorphic generational alternation.

Tracheophytes Examples

Tracheophytes are classified into two seedless plant groups:

  • Lycophytes (club mosses, spike mosses, and quillworts) and ferns (including horsetails and whisk ferns);
  • Seed-bearing plant groups: gymnosperms (cycads, pines, spruces, firs, and so on) and angiosperms (flowering plants).


Bryophytes are an informal grouping of three non-vascular land plant (embryophyte) divisions: liverworts, hornworts, and mosses. They are usually small and prefer moist habitats, but they can live in drier conditions. There are about 20,000 plant species in the bryophytes.

Bryophytes have enclosed reproductive structures (gametangia and sporangia) but no flowers or seeds. They replicate by spores.

While some studies have provided contradictory findings, bryophytes are generally thought to be a paraphyletic group rather than a monophyletic group.

Tracheophytes vs Bryophytes

Tracheophytes are vascular plants, meaning they have a tissue system that transports water and nutrients from their roots to all the other parts of the plant. Bryophytes do not have this type of transport system and instead rely on diffusion for these tasks.

Tracheophytes are vascular plants that have a true stem, leaves, and roots. Tracheophyte examples include trees, grasses, and ferns.

Bryophytes are non-vascular plants that lack a true stem or leaves.  Bryophyte examples include mosses.

The difference in how these two types of plants obtain food is another key distinction between them.


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