The key difference between land plants and water plants is that the lands plants have a more extensive root system while many of the water plants do not have a root system.
Plants are autotrophic living organisms that have the ability to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis takes place in both land plants and water plants, but the adaptations for photosynthesis differ among them. Land plants are mostly terrestrial, and they have a strong root system that anchors the plant to the ground and also supply water and nutrients to the plant. The main function of their root system is to anchor the plant in the water where dissolved nutrients are readily available. Therefore, water plants can be fully submerged in water or floating in the water. The difference between land plants and water plants is the habitat and their adaptations.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Land Plants
3. What are Water Plants
4. Similarities Between Land Plants and Water Plants
5. Side by Side Comparison – Land Plants vs Water Plants in Tabular Form
What are Land Plants?
Land plants belong to the category of terrestrial plants where the plants are found in soil based environments. Land plants have a strong root system that can either be a tap root system or a fibrous root system. Plants require water and nutrients for its survival. Land plants use their root system to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. In addition, the root system also anchors the plant to the ground. The main requirement of land plants is to conserve its water content.
In order to fulfil this, land plants have special adaptations such as having a thick, waxy cuticle and special leaf anatomical characteristics, etc. The stomata of the land plants can be found along the underside of the leaf (lower epidermis) to minimize or prevent transpiration. The land plants have much stronger stems with greater diameters. This is mainly due to the excess deposition of lignin that makes the plants rigid and erect. This allows the plant to stay erect even under harsh terrestrial conditions.
Figure 01: Land Plants
The reproduction and the fertilization process of land plants in a complex process. Pollinating agents such as wind and insects are essential to facilitate fertilization in land plants. The male gametes or pollens should be transferred on to the female gamete for fertilization. In land plants, this process should be facilitated by an agent.
What are Water Plants?
Water plants live in aquatic environments. They can be freshwater plants or marine plants. The plants can be fully submerged in water or floating on water. Due to this the adaptations shown by water plants, they vary from other plants. The root system in water plants primarily uses for the anchorage of the plant. Water plants readily obtain their nutrient requirement from dissolved nutrients in them, hence the primary role of the root system is to anchor the plant.
Water plants do not require special adaptations to conserve water. Hence the leaves do not have special adaptations like waxy and thick cuticle. The plants are less rigid and have a weaker root system or some plants do not have a root system. They don’t have thick stems. Hence, they are not completely erect.
Figure 02: Water Plants
Water plants have difficulty in obtaining air, especially the fully submerged plants. Hence their stomata are situated on the upper side of the leaf so that they can easily exchange gases during respiration. Reproduction is much simple. Water acts as the medium for transport of gametes, and they do not need special agents for pollination.
What are the Similarities Between Land Plants and Water Plants?
- Both Land Plants and Water Plants carry out photosynthesis.
- All land plants and some water plants have a root system.
- Also, both have a shoot system.
- In addition, both these plants have stomata for gaseous exchange.
- Furthermore, they both reproduce via sexual reproduction.
- Moreover, both plants have special adaptations to suit the environment or the habitat.
What is the Difference Between Land Plants and Water Plants?
Land plants and water plants are two types of plants that differ from the habitats and special adaptations to live on those habitats. Land plants are terrestrial plants which have a stronger root and shoot system. On the other hand, water plants live in aquatic environments hence they lack an extensive root system and shoot system. This is the key difference between land plants and water plants. Furthermore, we can find a significant difference between land plants and water plants in their pollination mechanisms. That is, the land plants need special pollinating agents while the water plants do not need that.
The below infographic tabultes more points on the difference between land plants and water plants.
Summary – Land Plants vs Water Plants
Land and water plants are two types of plants based on their habitat. There are several adaptations which differ in land and water plants. Land plants have stronger root systems that aid in the anchorage of the plant as well as for the absorption of nutrients and water. In contrast, the water plants have weaker root systems which play a role only in the anchorage of the plant. In addition to this, the shoot system, the leaf anatomy and the reproduction strategies also change in water plants in comparison with land plants. This is the difference between land plants and water plants.
1.Walburg, Mickey. “Difference Between Water Plants and Land Plants.” Hunker.com, Hunker, 7 Jan. 2010. Available here
1.”289322″ by Pixabay (CC0) via pexels
2.”2765097″ by Mayya666 (CC0) via pixabay
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