Are there any plants without flowers, fruits, seeds or even roots?

We often see different kinds of plants all around us. And ever since we were young, we learned what plants are at school. 

When we think about plants, the first thing that would come in mind is its leafy green appearance. Some are bigger than others, while some have more leaves, and so on. Various features are present in plants, which made them distinct from one another. 

A common misconception about plants is that all of them have seeds, roots, flowers, or fruits. These elements within a plant are the most common that we can see in most plants in our surroundings. However, there are almost 400,000 species of plants in the whole world, and each of them has unique characteristics. 

Giant Kelps

Interestingly, some plants don’t have flowers, fruits, seeds, or even roots, which live in special conditions. Several plants have these unusual characteristics, and these plants are under the group, thallophyte. 

What is Thallophyte?

As mentioned earlier, there are several types of plants in plants, and in this article, we are going to discuss one of the major plant divisions that have unique traits – called the thallophyte.

This group of plants includes fungi and algae, as well as bacteria, lichens, and slime molds. An interesting fact about these plants is their ability to reproduce without the use of flowers or seeds. This process is what we call the hidden reproduction, which is common to most marine plants or cryptogam.

Cryptogam refers to a plant that reproduces by using spores, without seeds or flowers. We can mostly see kind of plants in wetlands, where algae and fungus are present. They don’t have seeds or flowers, which means that they produce new plants without seeds as well. 

As mentioned earlier, we can find these plants in moist or wet places since they don’t have any roots to sip water underground, which is vital to other plant species to transport minerals and water. Other plants use their roots to absorb the nutrients beneath the soil, and it helps the plant to stay in place. Furthermore, roots are good for the soil since it allows the ground to keep its shape, especially when it rains – avoiding erosion.

However, thallophyte plants don’t have roots to suck up nutrients and water. That is why this plant needs to live in a place that is moist and wet. Notice how walls get filled with algae after some time without cleaning. Because of various weather conditions, walls become moist, which allows algae to live on it. 

More about algae

Most of us are familiar with algae. They are aquatic plants, and we can mostly see them in various bodies of water. Interestingly, we can also find algae in sloths.

For those who don’t know, we often consider sloths as one of the slowest animals on the planet. And because of this slow characteristic, algae starts to form in their body, mainly their fur. The algae covering their hair causes them to have a greenish appearance, which allows them to camouflage in the forest.

Aside from this, we can say that algae are essential plants in our environment. One reason for this is their ability to carry out carbon dioxide efficiently. For the record, they carry out roughly half of the total carbon dioxide fixation on Earth through photosynthesis. 

Also, they have a significant role in the food chain. The algae’s ability to produce energy-rich compounds heavily contributes to the cycle of food for aquatic animals. There are seventy species of marine algae used as food, and they are the primary food for most small fish species, as well as various kinds of shrimps. However, aquatic animals are not the only ones to eat algae since we humans also have the chance to eat this aquatic plant. Chlorella and spirulina are two types of algae that are safe for human consumption, although it is not just a tasty treat since it is full of nutrients that give significant health benefits to humans. Furthermore, there are several products made from algae, and manufacturers take advantage of its diverse reproduction to create various products, including toothpaste, dog food, food supplements, food additives, fertilizers, chocolate, baby food, and a whole lot more.

Additional reading:

Thallus (Wikipedia)
Thallophyte (Wikipedia)

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