Difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms

Les angiosperms are the plants provided with flowers, the gymnosperms they are plants that have no flowers. Both groups belong to the spermatophytes or seed plants. The seeds are the eggs (female cell) fertilized by the male cell contained in the pollen, which contains the embryo of the plant.

Angiosperm Gymnosperm
Definition Plants provided with flowers that produce seeds enclosed in a fruit. Plants with seeds whose eggs and seeds do not form in closed cavities.
Coinage German botanist Paul Hermann (1690) Scottish botanist Robert Brown (1825)
Etymology Latin AngiospermaeGreek angeion (got) + sperm (seed): seed inside a glass. Greek gymnosperms, gymnasiums (no) + sperm (seed): bare seed.
Emergence It was Mesozoic (125 million years ago). It was Paleozoic (390 million years ago).
  • Basal angiosperm
  • Monocotyledons
  • Dicotyledons
  • Conifers
  • Ginkgoals
  • Cicadals
  • Gnetophytes
Examples Chamomile, Bean or Caraway Plants, Strawberries, Gingko granddaughter, Juniper sp., pines, cedars, cicadas.

What is angiosperm?

dicotyledonous handle angiosperm
The mango tree Mangifera indica is an example of dicotyledonous angiosperm.

Angiosperms are seed-producing plants that have flowers. The flower is a showy organ made up of groups of modified leaves. These modifications are in shape, color and size.

The seeds develop inside the ovary, which grows and transforms into fruit.

The word “angiosperm” is derived from Latin Angiospermaeand that of the combination of Greek words angeion meaning “glass, case, container” i sperm which means “seed, semen.”

The German botanist Paul Hermann (1646-1695) is credited with using the word “angiosperm” to describe flowering plants.

Reproduction of angiosperms

Reproduction takes place in the flower. The sexual organs are surrounded by the corolla, a colored part of the flower, which is formed by the petals and wrapped by the calyx, a group of green leaves or sepals. In the event that the sepals and petals do not differ, as in tulips, they are called tepals.

The male and female organs are located very close together in most cases. The male organ or androecium it consists of one or more stamens consisting of an elongated structure (filament), at the end of which is the anther, where pollen is produced.

He gynecologist, female organ, consists of one or more pistils, which are located within the area surrounded by the stamens. Each pistil consists of:

  • an ovarycontaining the eggs, and
  • a stylewhich supports the stigma, a glandular body that receives pollen during fertilization.

Fertilization occurs when pollen reaches the stigma. There are angiosperm plants that produce hermaphroditic flowers, that is, they possess both sexual organs in the same flower; others, on the other hand, form female flowers (only pistils) or male flowers (only stamens). These plants are called monoecious. There are plants with female flowers and male flowers in different individuals, these are dioecious plants, for example, nettle Urtica dioica.


Pollination of angiosperms is usually done by insects or through the wind. The plants entomophiles they present / display showy flowers and with special forms to attract the insects. For example, orchids are flowers of various colors and shapes that are pollinated by insects.

On the plants anemophilous, pollen is carried by the wind and deposited on the stigmas of other flowers. This is the case with corn and wheat plants.

Once in the stigmas, the pollen forms a pollen tube that passes through the stigma and reaches the ovary. Through the pollen tube, two sperm nuclei reach the egg, one of the nuclei fuses with the oocyte nucleus. From the fertilized oocyte the embryo is formed, the first phase of the development of the new individual.

The second sperm nucleus joins a second female nucleus, forming the endosperm, a reserve tissue that will be consumed by the embryo during development. From this point on, the embryo and endosperm will begin to grow. The corolla withers and falls, part of the egg forms the lining of the seed and the ovary increases in size forming the fruit, inside which are the seeds.

Types of angiosperms

Angiosperms are the most widely distributed plants on Earth. They are included in a single cut, the Anthophytas, which means that they originated from a common ancestor. Modern angiosperms are classified into monocotyledons or dicotyledons depending on the structure of the leaves and embryos.

Basal angiosperms

Basal angiosperms are a group of plants that exhibit monkey and dicotyledonous characteristics. Within this group are magnolias, laurel, cinnamon tree, water lilies or nymphs, avocado or avocado and peppers. An example of a basal angiosperm is the nymph Nymphaea mexicana.


This group includes herbs, onions, palms, orchids and grasses. They are characterized by leaves with parallel veins, adventitious roots and flowers in arrangements of three or multiples of three petals.


Dicotyledons make up two-thirds of the angiosperms on the planet. They are characterized by the presence of two cotyledons in the embryo, leaves with network-shaped veins and a main root. Within this group we get tomato plants, potatoes, beans, and mango, apple and peach trees, among others.

Evolution of angiosperms

The appearance of angiosperms dates back to the Mesozoic era, in the Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. Genomic and paleobotanical evidence suggests that angiosperms did not evolve from gymnosperms, but in parallel.

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What is gymnosperm?

male and female organ of a pine
Pine sexual organs. Left: with male; right: with female.

Gymnosperms are seed-producing plants that do not have flowers. In gymnosperms, the flowers are replaced by cones, which have no ovaries. The eggs are bare, as are the seeds that form from them (not found in a fruit).

Etymologically the word gymnosperm is derived from the Greek gymnospermswhich means bare seed, for gymnasiums “no” i sperm “seed, semen.”

This group of plants does not use insects for pollination, but uses only wind (anemophiles).

Characteristics of gymnosperms

  • Plants with seeds adapted to life on earth.
  • Autotrophic: are photosynthetic organisms.
  • They have a vascular system, which includes the xylem, phloem and roots, through which water and nutrients are transported.
  • The seeds develop into flakes of cones or pineapples.
  • They produce male and female spores.
  • They are monoecious, the same plant has both female and male structures.

Reproduction of gymnosperms

Gymnosperms are sporophytes, plants with two copies of their genetic material capable of producing spores. They are also heterospores, that is, they have male and female gametophytes that develop from spores produced by separate cones.

The male cone produces microspores that develop to form pollen grains. The female cone produces megaspores that develop to form eggs.

The wind releases pollen grains that are deposited in the female cones. In gymnosperm plants, fertilization takes a long time due to the slowness with which pollen forms the tube through which it reaches the female gamete.

Types of gymnosperms

Gymnosperms live in many ecosystems, especially in temperate and cold regions, as they have adapted to this type of climate. They are classified into four main cuts: Coniferophyta, Cycadophyta, Gingkophyta i Gnetophyta.


Conifers are the dominant group of gymnosperms. This includes pines, firs and junipers. In this type of plant the sexual organs are protected by small scales, gathered in sets of various shapes (pineapples or cones).

The female cones are larger and form on the short branches. The male cones form each spring in groups at the ends of the longest branches, and this is where the pollen comes from.


Gingko biloba gymnosperm
Gingko granddaughterthe only surviving species of ginkgoals.

Of the ginkgoals, only the ginkgoals currently exist Gingko granddaughter. Unlike other gymnosperms, this tree produces male and female organs on different plants.


Cycads grow in tropical and subtropical climates; they are often confused with palm trees by the shapes of their leaves. However, they have large cones that can be pollinated by insects.

Evolution of gymnosperms

Fossil records show that the first gymnosperms originated from ferns, probably in the Devonian period (Paleozoic era) about 390 million years ago. The possibility of producing seeds allowed them to adapt to dry conditions.

The Ginkgoales were the first gymnosperms to appear in the Jurassic period. Cycads, palm-like trees, also proliferated during this period.

You may be interested to see:


Fester, K., R. (2011). Botany for Dummies. Wiley Publishing. USA.

Mauseth, JD (2016). Botany-An introduction to plant biology, 6th ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning. Burlington, MA.

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