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Difference between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms

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All the species of plants come under the category of the plant kingdom. They consist of eukaryotic, multicellular, and autotrophic organisms. Autotrophs are those organisms that make their own food with the help of sunlight, water, soil, minerals, etc. Plants contain chloroplast and chlorophyll pigment, which is needed for photosynthesis. The process of making their own food is known as photosynthesis. Plants have distinct varieties with different characters. They can’t displace. The plant kingdom plays a great role in society by providing information regarding its importance. 

R.H Whittaker gives 5 kingdom systems which he stated are kingdoms like Monera, Protista, Fungi, Animalia, and Plantae. Kingdom Plantae has mainly 5 groups, i.e., Algae, Bryophytes, Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms. Let us have a glance over the difference between gymnosperms and angiosperms.




The division Spermatophyta includes all seed-bearing plants. It has been branched into two subdivisions- Gymnosperms and Angiosperms. Gymnosperms are the most primitive group of seed plants, flourished in the Devonian period of the Palaeozoic era. The geological records show that they were ascendant plants over the earth’s surface during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Mesozoic era. There are about 70 genera and 725 species of living gymnosperms, spread across the temperate and tropical regions of the world. They even occur in arctic zones.

Gymnosperms are woody plants that do not bear flowers. Seeds are exposed or naked—better adaptation for land habit. Fertilization is siphonogamous. Seeds are born on structures called cones. Due to the development of cambium, they show secondary growth. The members of numerous early groups of Gymnosperms (e.g.. Cycadofilicales, Bennettitales, Cordaitales) are extinct today and only their preserved remains (fossils) are known. Other groups like Cycadales, Ginkgoales, Coniferales, and Gnetales are represented by both living and fossil members.
They are marked by the presence of naked ovules, unlike angiosperms, seeds of gymnosperms are not enclosed in ovaries. Gymnosperms are infrequently called ‘Phanerogams without ovary’.




They are the most highly evolved plants. Flowering plants occur in most environments. Sea is the only exception. Here only one angiosperm is found. It is Zostera which thrives in shallow waters. They are most widespread in plains and hills. They have also been recorded in Antarctica and deserts. One species is reported to occur in hot springs at 60° C. A small orchid lives underground. 

Angiosperms are the most highly evolved plants. They are the most abundant and conspicuous plants. Range from tiny, almost microscopic Wolffia to tall trees of Eucalyptus. Pollination is through several agencies, but the most prominent is by animals.

Anatomical Difference between Gymnosperms and Angiosperms


  • Living gymnosperms are mostly evergreen trees or shrubs with xerophytic adaptations.
  • It has a Sporophytic plant body and is differentiated into roots, stems, and leaves.
  • The well-developed tap root system is present.
  • There is great diversity in both form and arrangement of leaves. The leaves are usually dimorphic. 
  • Leaves are generally spirally arranged.
  • The roots are di- to polyarch.
  • The young stem has a ring of collateral endarch and open vascular bundles.
  • The wood may be manoxylic (wood is sparse with wide parenchymatous rays, large pith, and cortex) as in Cycas, or pycnoxylic (wood dense or compact with small rays, and a small amount of cortex and pith) as in Pinus.
  • Venation may be parallel as in Welwitschia, reticulate as in Gnetum, dichotomous as in Gingko, or there may be a single vein as in most taxa.
  • Xylem doesn’t have vessels and phloem companion cells.


  • Angiosperm sporophylls are aggregated to create flowers.
  • A microsporophyll or stamen consists of a filament and an anther.
  • A megasporophyll or carpel is rolled and partly sterilized to produce a stigma, style, and ovary.
  • Plant embryos in seeds have structures, called cotyledons. 
  • Cotyledons are called ‘seed leaves’ because in many cases they emerge and become green when the seed germinates.
  • On the basis of the number of cotyledons, the angiosperms are divided into two groups: dicotyledons and monocotyledons.
  • Secondary growth occurs in the stem and root of some angiosperms (dicots).
  • The xylem contains vessels.
  • Phloem possesses sieve tubes and companion cells.

Examples of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms


Gymnospermae includes the following two groups:

  • Cycadae: Example- Cycas,
  • Coniferae: Example- Pinus (pines), Cedrus(deodar), Ginkgo, etc.


Angiosperms are divided into two groups as follows:

  • Monocotyledonae (Monocots): Examples include Maize, wheat, rice, onion, barley, banana, Coconut, bamboo, and grasses.
  • Dicotyledonae(Dicots): Examples include peas, potatoes, sunflowers, roses, banyans, apples, etc.

Uses of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms


  • Gymnosperms are used in the landscaping of parks and gardens because of their evergreen habit and evenly shaped appearance. 
  • The gymnosperm trees are used for timber, building construction, resin, and the manufacture of paper and board. 
  • They are also used in medicines, perfumes, varnishes, and essential oils.
  • Various members of Cycadales are of considerable economic importanisGymnospermsce as Food, medicines, decorative plantations, and as green manure.
  • Ginkgo biloba is grown as an avenue tree. Roasted seeds of Ginkgo are eaten at feasts in China and Japan to promote digestion and diminish the effects of drinking wine.


  • Food: Angiosperms are used as cereals, pulses, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
  • Oils: Edible oils are obtained from groundnut, mustard, cottonseeds, sunflower, coconut, etc.
  • Spices: They include cinnamon, cloves, chilies, and Coriander, and produce fennel.
  • Beverages: Tea, coffee, and cocoa are got from flowering plants.
  • Medicines: Some of them are aconite, belladonna, liquorice, etc.
  • Timber: It is mostly obtained from dicots trees. The wood is called hardwood.

General Difference between Angiosperms and Gymnosperms

Parameter Angiosperms Gymnosperms
Definition Angiosperms are Seed producing flowering plants whose seeds are enclosed within an ovary. Gymnospems are Seed producing non-flowering plants whose seeds are enclosed.
Reproductive organs Archegoina are absent. The female gametophyte contains archegonia.
Life cycle The seasonal lifecycle can be seen because these die during autumn. These plants are evergreen in nature.
Embryo The embryo contains one or two cotyledons. The embryo may contain one to several cotyledons.
Reproduction Animals depending reproduction for spread. Wind depends on reproduction.
Tissue Triploid tissue. Haploid tissue.
Leaves Flat-shaped leaves. Scale-like and needle-like leaves.
Wood Hardwood Softwood
Uses Used for food, clothing, etc. These are used for paper, lumber, etc.

Differences in Reproductive Organs 



The sporophylls are aggregated to form cones. The sporophylls are aggregated to form flowers.
Cones are generally unisexual, rarely bisexual. Flowers are generally bisexual, rarely unisexual.
Ovules are sessile. Ovules are borne on a stalk or funiculus.
An ovule is covered by a 3-layered massive integument having a wide micropyle. It is covered by 1 or 2 thin integuments having a narrow micropyle.
The female gametophyte contains archegonia. Archegonia are absent.
Seeds develop exposure to megasporophyll. Fruits are never formed. Seeds develop inside the ovary which matures into a fruit.
Male gametophyte contains 1 or 2 prothalial cells, a tuble cell a stalk cell,is  and a body cell that divides to form 2 male gametes. Male gametophyte consists of a tube cell and a generative cell which divided to form two male gametes.

FAQs on Gymnosperms

Question 1: How do gymnosperms different from angiosperms?


Gymnosperms are non-flowering plants, whereas angiosperms are flowering plants. Additionally, the seeds of gymnosperms are enclosed within an ovary and on the other hand, angiosperms have naked seeds.

Question 2: Do angiosperms depend on water?


No, angiosperms does not need water for fertilization.

Question 3: Where do gymnosperms grow?


Gymnosperms are often found in temperate forests and boreal forest biomes.

Question 4: Which group is largest in gymnosperms?


Conifers are the largest group of gymnosperms.

Question 5: Why are angiosperms considered better than gymnosperms?


The fruits aid in the dispersing of seeds on the other hand the flowers provide protection for the ovule. Hence, angiosperms are better than gymnosperms.

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Last Updated : 13 Apr, 2023
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