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17 Different Types of Plants

A collage of different species of flowers.

​​​​​​​Everywhere we go, plants surround us. You may not even notice them most of the time because they can blend into the background. They grow in gardens, as part of the landscape, and even on the side of the road. There are many different types of plants grown all around the world.

You may not realize it, but moss and algae are considered plants. Some plants have flowers, while others thrive in wet areas. Plants are divided into two groups: those that have seeds and those that do not. 

The classification of plants is based on species, family, and genus. This is what makes them easier to identify and study. The vascular system of the plant also aids in classification. Continue reading to find out more details about the different types of plants. 

What is a Plant?

A plant is a living thing that can grow in water or on land. Plants can survive anywhere, no matter the environment or climate. Plants make their own food by using the energy from the sun. Plants are rooted to the ground and cannot move. Plants have roots, leaves, and stems. 

Types of Plants

Plants Without Seeds

Plants without seeds are unique in that they produce spores that are blown around by the wind. Ferns, moss, algae, and liverworts fall into this category.

1. Algae

Long grown Algae below the water.

Algae is a wide range of plants that grow in water. There are different types of algae: green algae, brown algae, and red algae. There are over 72,000 species of algae around the world. However, the groups of algae are not closely related to each other. 

Most of us think of seaweed when thinking about algae, but there are other types, as well. Seaweed is often found around coastlines. Phytoplankton is a microscopic organism that is food for marine animals. 

Algae use photosynthesis to make food. Some algae can eat other organisms like animals. The fact that algae does this may cause some to question if algae is a plant, but most believe it is. 

2. Brown Algae

A brown algae on a white background.

Brown algae is a common algae that grows in the sea. Many people enjoy eating this type of algae. Brown algae grows tall, as high as 165 feet in some cases. Sea kelp is a form of brown algae. It contains a large amount of iodine. 

3. Ferns

Fern plant hanging indoor.

Ferns do not have seeds or flowers. They are different from algae and moss because they are vascular and reproduce with spores. There are slightly more than 10,000 fern species. Ferns are some of the oldest plants. 

Ferns are easy to identify based on their leafy green fronds and pinnae. You can find ferns in forests and other shady areas. Ferns grow as tall as 82 feet. It is common to find ferns inside houses because they love room temperature climates. 

Ferns are green and bushy with long trailing leaves. Boston ferns, Staghorn ferns, and Bird’s Nest ferns are among the more common indoor options. They are perfect for ground cover. 

If you prefer not to have real ferns indoors or out, try this artificial fern.

4. Green Algae

A lake with green water due to algae.

Green algae live in freshwater but grow in salt water, too. There are some green algae that grow as seaweed, like brown seaweed. When growing in abundance, green algae may turn the water green.

5. Liverworts

Growing Liverworts on the soil.

Liverworts are a flowerless plant that is non-vascular. They do not bear seeds and are part of the Marchantiophyta. This plant is small and leafy. It may be as small as 2 mm or as wide as 20 mm. These plants thrive in damp areas.

Liverworts are challenging to tell apart from moss, especially the tiniest of the species. Liverworts are smaller and absorb water with their tiny hair-like structures. Liverworts are a lower plant form than algae but are considered more advanced.

6. Moss

A group of moss growing on the tree.

Like Liverworts, moss often grows in damp areas. You can find moss growing on trees, concrete, rocks, and even soil. Moss does not need soil to grow, making it unique and able to grow anywhere.

There was a time when moss was in the liverworts and hornworts class. They are in their own classification. Sphagnum moss is one of the most essential classes of moss. It is used as mulch, decoration, and by florists. 

7. Red Algae

A red algae washed up on the shore.

Red algae are the largest group of all the algae. It grows mainly in marine areas. It does not produce seeds. However, it is an essential source of food and is often used for nori. In addition, red algae is the seaweed used to wrap sushi. 

8. Plants With Seeds

Plants with seeds include many flowering plants, plants with cones, conifers, and ginkgo. A flowering plant protects the seed it produces within its fruit. 

9. Conifers

A tree species of Conifers and with cones.

A conifer is a woody plant that may be in shrub or tree form. It is in the Pinophyta division. It is a perennial evergreen. Pine, cedar, spruce, and juniper fall into this category. Conifers grow in most climates and are common in the North. They are gymnosperms. 

They have cones that produce seeds. Some conifers rely on birds to spread the seed, while others have cones that disintegrate. The foliage of conifers is silvery, blue-gray, or green. They may be large trees with pine needles covering their drooping leaves.

They can also be small shrubs often found in ornamental gardens. Certain varieties of conifers, like junipers, pine, cedar, fir, and yew trees, are cold, hardy, and can survive in temperatures as long as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. 

10. Cycads

A Cycads with large yellow fruit.

Cycads grow in tropical and subtropical areas. They are considered an exotic plant. They look like palm trees with woody trunks and large evergreen leaves. However, they do not have branches. Instead, their leave grow directly from the trunk. Cone-like structures enclose their seeds. 

Cycads are flowerless and reproduce with the help of beetles pollinating the seeds. They come in different sizes. The smallest cycad is only centimeters high. It looks like a fern with leaves growing from the ground. They are commonly mistaken for ferns because of this. 

Large cycads have larger leaves that appear to explode from the trunk. They can grow 32 feet to 50 feet tall. They tend to be ornamental plants in warm climates. 

11. Flowering Plants

A Flowering tulip with different colors.

Flowering plants are beautiful and some of the most diverse plants you can find. These plants can be anything from an oak tree to a rose. There are more than 300,000 species of flowering plants. They have 64 orders, 416 families, and 13,000 genera. They all bear seeds in flowers. These are their reproductive organs. 

Flowering plants are vascular because of their complex system for sending fluid to all parts of the plant. Flowering vines, ornamental grass, orchids, and blossoming trees fall into this type. Common plants like tulips, begonias, herbs, and asters are all angiosperms. 

They are further classified as annual or perennial. This indicates if they survive winter. Some flowers bloom in spring only, while others begin to flower in spring and continue through the fall.

12. Flowering Annual Plants

A red flowering annual plants.

Annual flowering plants die in the winter and have a dormant seed. However, there are beautiful flowers that fit into the category of flowering plants. These flowers include marigolds, poppies, petunias, and pansies. 

13. Flowering Perennial Plants

Different species of succulents on a pot.

Perennials are the plants that have flowers every year. These plants do not need to be replanted for them to flower. Some of these flowers grow from bulbs. They include tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. 

These are the first flowers that grow in the spring. However, there are also cool plants that flower every year. These plants include succulents, roses, flowering trees, and lilac shrubs. 

14. Ivy and Flowering Vines

An Ivy plant creeping on a wire.

Ivy and flowering vines are plants that grow on land and have seeds. Ivy is a green leafy plant that trails while climbing trellises, walls, and hanging baskets. Species of ivy produce blossoms each year. 

15. Orchids

Beautiful violet orchid on a white background.

Orchids are a stunning looking plant that grows inside. Orchids have many different species various colors. Phalaenopsis are the easiest orchids to maintain and care for. They have petals that are large and colorful with unusual markings. 

16. Ornamental Grass

Ornamental Grass with red flowers.

Ornamental grass gives you privacy, beauty, and height and can add it to any garden. These plants are perennial because they have seeds that help them reproduce. Ornamental grass is low maintenance and versatile.

These grasses grow to different heights. Some of them grow just a few centimeters while others grow to many meters. 

17. Ginko

Ginko leaves on a white bowl and wooden plate.

Ginko is a plant that is really a tree that bears seeds. It is part of the Ginkgophyta division. Every other species of ginkgo is extinct. There is only one type of plant that has survived. Ginko is not related to any other plant that is living today. 

Another name for Gingko is the maidenhead tree. Its leaves are fan-shaped, which makes Gingko unique. The leaves can measure between 2 inches to 4 inches. The fruit of this plant does not have seeds. The fruit of this plant is called a false fruit. 

What is the Difference Between Dioecious Plants and Monoecious Plants?

The terms dioecious and monoecious are used in horticultural industries. They are related to reproduction in plants. Dioecious is a plant group that contains female plants and male plants that are distinct from each other. The female flowers and male flowers are in different plants. Monoecious means that both the female and male flowers are on a single plant.

What are Non-Vascular Plants?

Non-vascular plants are the first classification. A non-vascular plant does not have vascular tissue to help nutrients and water transport throughout the plant. They are the earliest living plants. 

What are Vascular Plants?

The next classification is tracheophytes, which are vascular plants. These plants have vascular tissue that helps them move minerals and water throughout the plant.