Vascular plants (also known as tracheophytes or higher plants) are those plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant. Vascular plants include the ferns, clubmosses, flowering plants, conifers and other gymnosperms. Scientific names for the group include Tracheophyta and Tracheobionta, but neither name is very widely used.
Vascular plants are distinguished by two primary characteristics:
One possible mechanism for the presumed switch from emphasis on the haploid generation to emphasis on the diploid generation is the greater efficiency in spore dispersal with more complex diploid structures. In other words, elaboration of the spore stalk enabled the production of more spore and the ability to release it higher and to broadcast it farther. Such developments may include more photosynthetic area for the spore-bearing structure, the ability to grow independent roots, woody structure for support, and more branching.
Water transport happens in either xylem or phloem: xylem carries water and inorganic solutes upward toward the leaves from the roots, while phloem carries organic solutes throughout the plant. Group of plants having lignified conducting tissue (xylem vessels or tracheids).
A proposed phylogeny of the vascular plants after Kenrick and Crane is as follows, with modification to the Pteridophyta from Smith et al.
Pteridospermatophyta † (seed ferns)
Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)
Pteridopsida (true ferns)
Full article ▸