Connecting People with Nature

Plant Life

Essential Knowledge for Naturalists

Plant Taxonomy

Plants are generally defined as living things that lack a means of locomotion, and lack sensory organs. Over 300,000 species of plants are known to exist on Earth, so you should not expect an exhaustive listing here. However, we will go into a bit of detail about the phyla of plants generally found in Nature, and the characteristics that will allow you to categorize most of the plants you find out there while exploring parks.

The Plant Kingdom is divided into 3 major divisions, or phyla. Each Phylum has characteristics that separate it from the others, allowing us to group like plants together for purposes of identification, as well as family relationships amoung the various plants. The phyla are:


Thallophytes are the least complex forms of life: the bacteria, fungi, algae and lichens that are ubiquitous on our planet Earth.


Bryophytes are terrestrial plants that lack vascular structures (xylem and phloem) and generally grow in mats on the ground. These are the mosses, liverworts and hornworts.


The tracheophytes, or vascular plants, are the most advanced forms of plant life on Earth. They have differentiated tissues forming leaves, stems, roots, and vascular structures.

We hope that the information presented here will give you a broader and deeper understanding of Nature, and therefore, of yourself. We make no attempt to be encyclopedic, but if you do find something missing, please feel free to email us at to let us know what you think we should add here.'s feed chicklet's email chicklet's e-newsletter chicklet
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