Both trees and plants are members of the kingdom Plantae, but despite their belonging to the same family, they each possess unique characteristics that set them apart. They're very similar in more ways than one, but they're also very different. If you've ever wondered about the major differences between plants and trees, we've put all these together in this article.
Trees are a type of plant.
The first major difference between trees and plants is that, while all trees are considered plants, not all plants fall under the tree category. All trees are called plants because they belong to the Plantae kingdom. Some of the unique features and traits that distinguish trees from plants include their size, competition, and life expectancy.
Trees begin their life cycle as plants, but as they continue to push past the growing season, they develop different features that enable us to set them apart from actual plants. Plants that grow very tall are still generally smaller than trees. These are green beauties that are great for use indoors as houseplants. Typical examples of such plants include monstera Peru, which is one of the most common online plants for sale.
Plants are pollen generators.
Comparison teaches us that when it comes to pollen production, plants are masters. Pollen is a powdery residue produced by seed plants. It's responsible for reproduction in plants, and it's also famous because of its contribution to allergy in humans. An allergic reaction or a pollen allergy can affect one's nose or eyes and cause allergy symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes, a rash, a cough, and even hives.
Tree pollen allergies like oak allergies might be more severe than plant ones. These can affect your immune system and cause a severe reaction that antihistamines can't cure. In such cases, you might require immunotherapy or special medication your healthcare provider gives.
Plants and trees differ in annuals and perennials.
Trees, by nature, have a very long lifespan and are often referred to as perennials. Plants, on the other hand, may only last a single season; hence, they are called annuals or biennials. The species of plant determines whether it falls into any of these categories. For example, there are bi-annual plants that survive for two seasons only, while some perennials survive for a minimum of five years and a maximum of over 100 years. Unlike annuals that grow for one growing season, perennials regrow every year and then die.
Plant have stems, but trees have trunks.
The contrast between the stem of a plant and the trunk of a tree is of major importance. The composition and density of a tree trunk differ greatly from that of a plant stem, but there are more differences that we need to take a look at. When cut open and viewed under X-ray, a tree trunk shows an intricate network of tissue and vessels, much like a plumbing system, but for trees.
There are three major elements in the trunk: the xylem, phloem, and cambium layers, which play a critical role in transporting nutrients and fluids. Plants can have a single stem or multiple stems. These stems are generally softer than the trunks of trees, but they offer the same function of transporting nutrients and fluids from the roots to other plant parts.
No matter the category, tree or plant, cottonwood or birch, hazelnut or maple, roses or gardenias, trees and plants are both highly essential to our daily lives. Their differences set them apart, but they also have many similar characteristics that bring them together. From purifying our environment to aiding with vision and uplifting indoor and outdoor spaces, there's so much we stand to benefit from them.