What Are NonVascular Plants

Non Vascular plants are plants that do not have vascular tissue to transport water and nutrients inside itself. It is a lack of these tissues that cause nonvascular plants to only be able to feed and drink when their environment provides direct contact with the plants.

The majority of earth’s plant life tend to be vascular plants, including all flowering and fruiting plants, as well as any plant with a woody exterior.

Therefore, there are very few members of the non vascular plant family, including only mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and algae.

While some nonvascular plants appear to have leaves, these leaves are misleading, and are not true leaves.

Non Vascular Plants are considered and often referred to as “lower plants”. In this context, “lower plant” refers to their order of appearance on earth, and not their physical height. It is important to note that not all “lower plants” are non vascular plants. Many times ferns and other vascular plants are referred to as “lower plants” which can oftentimes lead to confusion.

This may be one of the reasons the term “nonvascular plants” is no longer widely used in the scientific community.

Another popular point of confusion is whether or not fungi is also a non vascular plant, as it turns out it is not. It is now widely accepted that these fungi have a very different biology from non vascular plants.

There are 3 main distinctions between non vascular plants and vascular plants, and it is these following distinctions that make every bit of difference.

No Roots
Unlike vascular plants, nonvascular plants have absolutely no roots to take up water and nutrients from.

No Stems
Also unlike vascular plants, non vascular plants have no stems to take up water and nutrients from.

No Leaves
And finally, unlike vascular plants, non vascular plants have no leaves to take up water and nutrients from.

The reason being that all of these parts of a plant normally contain vascular tissue, and only vascular plants can contain vascular tissue right?

It is these vascular tissues that contain the plants xylem and phloem, which are essentially “tubes” that carry water, carbohydrates, and and nutrients throughout the plants system.

While non vascular plants were the first plant types on earth, it didn’t take much time for vascular plants to take over as the kings of plant life.

Non vascular plants are typically found in the more shady, and moist areas, as they can not feed themselves like vascular plants can. Direct sunlight is often times a death sentence for non vascular plants as they can dry up very quickly if not kept properly wet. This is why nonvascular plants are most often found in forests, and close to water lines.

It’s fair to say that without non vascular plants, we may not have the vascular plants we are all so used to today.

Plant life is extremely varied, and the wonders of it should never cease to amaze even the most reserved of personalities.

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