Systems of classification –

Artificial System of classification –

  • It was the earliest systems of classification.
  • It used only gross superficial morphological characters such as habit, colour, number and shape of leaves, etc.
  • They were based mainly on vegetative characters or on the androecium structure (system given by Linnaeus).
  • They separated the closely related species since they were based on a few characteristics.
  • Also, the artificial systems gave equal weightage to vegetative and sexual characteristics; this is not acceptable since we know that often the vegetative characters are more easily affected by environment.

e.g., Linnaeus classification of plants based on no of androecium.

Natural system of classification –

  • It was based on natural affinities among the organisms and consider, not only the external features, but also internal features, like ultrastructure, anatomy, embryology and phytochemistry.

e.g., George Bentham and Joseph Dalton Hooker classification of flowering plants.

Phylogenetic classification systems –

  • It is most acceptable system.
  • It is based on evolutionary relationships between the various organisms.
  • This assumes that organisms belonging to the same taxa have a common ancestor.

New development in taxonomy –

  • Numerical Taxonomy –

    It is carried out using computers and is based on all observable characteristics. Number and codes are assigned to all the characters and the data are then processed. In this way each character is given equal importance and at the same time hundreds of characters can be considered.

  • Cytotaxonomy –

    It is based on cytological information like chromosome number, structure, behaviour.

  • Chemotaxonomy –

    It is based on the chemical constituents of the plant.

Plant Classification



  • Algae are chlorophyll-bearing, simple, thalloid, autotrophic and largely aquatic (both fresh water and marine) organisms.
  • Some Algae also occur in association with fungi (lichen) and animals (e.g., on sloth bear).

Size and form of algae

  • The microscopic unicellular forms – Chlamydomonas,
  • Colonial forms – Volvox
  • Filamentous forms – Ulothrix and
  • Marine and massive plant bodies – kelps.

Reproduction in Algae

By vegetative, asexual and sexual methods.

  • Vegetative reproduction – by fragmentation, each fragment develops into a thallus.
  • Asexual reproduction – by the production of different types of spores like zoospores.They are flagellated (motile) and on germination gives rise to new plants.
  • Sexual reproduction – through fusion of two gametes.
    • Isogamous – If gametes are flagellated and similar in size – Chlamydomonas.
      If gametes are non-flagellated and similar in size – Spirogyra.
    • Anisogamous – If gametes are dissimilar in size. e.g., some species of Chlamydomonas. 
    • Oogamous – Fusion between one large, non-motile female gamete and a smaller, motile male gamete is termed oogamous, e.g., Volvox, Fucus.
  •  Economic importance of Algae
    • At least a half of the total carbon dioxide fixation on earth is carried out by algae through photosynthesis.
    • They are primary producers of energy-rich compounds which form the basis of the food cycles of all aquatic animals. Many species of Porphyra, Laminaria and Sargassum are used as food.
    • Certain marine brown and red algae produce large amounts of hydrocolloids (water holding substances), e.g., algin (brown algae) and carrageen (red algae).
    • Agar, one of the commercial products obtained from Gelidium and Gracilaria are used to grow microbes and in preparations of ice-creams and jellies.
    • Chlorella and Spirullina are unicellular algae, rich in proteins and are used as food supplements even by space travellers. (SCP – single cell protein)

The algae are divided into three main classes (on the basis of pigment and stored food): Chlorophyceae, Phaeophyceae and Rhodophyceae.

Chlorophyceae (Green algae)

  • The plant body may be unicellular, colonial or filamentous.
  • They are usually grass green due to the dominance of pigments chlorophyll a and b.
  • The chloroplasts may be discoid, plate-like, reticulate, cup-shaped, spiral or ribbon-shaped in different species.
  • Most of the members have one or more storage bodies called pyrenoids located in the chloroplasts.
  • Pyrenoids contain protein besides starch. Some algae may store food in the form of oil droplets.
  • Green algae usually have a rigid cell wall made of an inner layer of cellulose and an outer layer of pectose.
  • Vegetative reproduction – by fragmentation or by formation of different types of spores.
  • Asexual reproduction – by flagellated zoospores produced in zoosporangia.
  • The sexual reproduction – may be isogamous, anisogamous or oogamous.
  • e.g., Chlamydomonas, Volvox, Ulothrix, Spirogyra and Chara.

Phaeophyceae (Brown algae)

  • found primarily in marine habitats.
  • Present in from simple branched, filamentous forms (Ectocarpus) to profusely branched forms as represented by kelps.
  • They possess chlorophyll a, c, carotenoids and xanthophylls (fucoxanthin).
  • Food is stored as complex carbohydrates, which may be in the form of laminarin or mannitol.
  • Cell wall made-up of cellulose and has outer coating of gelatinous substance algin.
  • The plant body is usually attached to the substratum by a holdfast, and has a stalk – the stipe and leaf like photosynthetic organ – the frond.
  • Vegetative reproduction – by fragmentation.
  • Asexual reproduction – by biflagellate zoospores that are pear-shaped and have two unequal laterally attached flagella.
  • Sexual reproduction – may be isogamous, anisogamous or oogamous.
    • Union of gametes may take place in water or within the oogonium (oogamous species).
    • The gametes are pyriform (pear-shaped) and bear two laterally attached flagella.
  • e.g., Ectocarpus, Dictyota, Laminaria, Sargassum and Fucus.

Rhodophyceae (Red algae)

  • Predominance of the red pigment, r-phycoerythrin.
  • Majority of the red algae are marine with greater concentrations found in the warmer areas.
  • They occur in both well-lighted regions close to the surface of water and also at great depths in oceans where relatively little light penetrates.
  • The red thalli of most of the red algae are multicellular.
  • The food is stored as floridean starch which is very similar to amylopectin and glycogen in structure.
  • Vegetative reproduction – by fragmentation.
  • Asexual reproduction – by non-motile spores.
  • Sexual reproduction – by non-motile gametes.
    • Sexual reproduction is oogamous.
  • e.g., Polysiphonia, Porphyra, Gracilaria and Gelidium.



TABLE : Divisions of Algae and their Main Characteristics

Classes Common Name Major Pigments Stored Food Cell Wall Flagellar Number and Position of Insertions Habitat
Chlorophyceae Green algae


Chlorophyll a, b Starch Cellulose 2-8, equal, apical Fresh water, brackish water,  salt water
Phaeophyceae Brown algae Chlorophyll a, c, fucoxanthin Mannitol, laminarin Cellulose and algin 2, unequal, lateral Fresh water (rare) brackish water, salt water
Rhodophyceae Red algae Chlorophyll a, d, phycoerythrin Floridean starch Cellulose Absent Fresh water (some), brackish water, salt water (most)








BRYOPHYTES (Amphibians of the plant kingdom)

  • Bryophytes include the various mosses and liverworts that are found commonly growing in moist shaded areas in the hills.
  • Bryophytes are also called amphibians of the plant kingdom because these plants can live in soil but are dependent on water for sexual reproduction.
  • They play an important role in plant succession on bare rocks/soil.
  • Structure / Plant body –

The plant body of bryophytes is more differentiated than that of algae. It is thallus-like and prostrate or erect, and attached to the substratum by unicellular or multicellular rhizoids (root like structure).

They lack true roots, stem or leaves. They may possess root-like, leaf-like or stem-like structures.

The main plant body of the bryophyte is haploid. It produces gametes, hence is called a gametophyte.

  • Sex organs –

The sex organs in bryophytes are multicellular.

The male sex organ is called antheridium. They produce biflagellate antherozoids.

The female sex organ called archegonium is flask-shaped and produces a single egg.

  • Fertilization and development –

The antherozoids are released into water where they come in contact with archegonium.

An antherozoid fuses with the egg to produce the zygote.

Zygotes do not undergo reduction division immediately. They produce a multicellular body called a sporophyte.

The sporophyte is not free-living but attached to the photosynthetic gametophyte and derives nourishment from it. (sporophyte is parasite or dependent on gametophyte).

Some cells of the sporophyte undergo reduction division (meiosis) to produce haploid spores.

These spores germinate to produce gametophyte.

  • Economic importance –

    • some mosses provide food for herbaceous mammals, birds and other animals.
    • Species of Sphagnum, a moss, provide peat that have long been used as fuel, and because of their capacity to hold water as packing material for trans-shipment of living material.
    • Mosses along with lichens are the first organisms to colonise rocks and hence, are of great ecological importance.
    • They decompose rocks making the substrate suitable for the growth of higher plants.
    • Since mosses form dense mats on the soil, they reduce the impact of falling rain and prevent soil erosion.

The bryophytes are divided into liverworts and mosses.


  • The plant body of a liverwort is thalloid.
  • The thallus is dorsiventral and closely appressed to the substrate.
  • The leafy members have tiny leaf-like appendages in two rows on the stem-like structures.
  • Asexual reproduction – by fragmentation of thalli, or by the formation of specialised structures called gemmae.

Gemmae are green, multicellular, asexual buds, which develop in small receptacles called gemma cups located on the thalli.

The gemmae become detached from the parent body and germinate to form new individuals.

  • Sexual reproduction – male and female sex organs are produced either on the same or on different thalli.
  • The sporophyte is differentiated into a foot, seta and capsule.

After meiosis, spores are produced within the capsule.

These spores germinate to form free-living gametophytes.

e.g., Marchantia


  • The predominant stage of the life cycle of a moss is the gametophyte which consists of two stages.

The first stage is the protonema stage, which develops directly from a spore. It is a creeping, green, branched and frequently filamentous stage.

The second stage is the leafy stage, which develops from the secondary protonema as a lateral bud. It has upright, slender axes bearing spirally arranged leaves. They are attached to the soil through multicellular and branched rhizoids. This stage bears the sex organs.

  • Vegetative reproduction – by fragmentation and budding in the secondary protonema.
  • sexual reproduction – by the sex organs antheridia and archegonia, which are produced at the apex of the leafy shoots.
  • After fertilization – the zygote develops into a sporophyte, consisting of a foot, seta and capsule. The sporophyte in mosses is more elaborate than that in liverworts. The capsule contains spores, which are formed after meiosis.
  • The mosses have an elaborate mechanism of spore dispersal.

e.g., Funaria, Polytrichum and Sphagnum.









  • The Pteridophytes include horsetails and ferns.
  • Evolutionarily, they are the first terrestrial plants to possess vascular tissues – xylem and phloem.
  • The pteridophytes are found in cool, damp, shady places though some may flourish well in sandy-soil conditions.
  • Structure / Plant body –

    • The main plant body is a sporophyte which is differentiated into true root, stem and leaves.
    • These organs possess well-differentiated vascular tissues.
    • The leaves in pteridophyta are small (microphylls) – Selaginella or large (macrophylls) – ferns.
    • The sporophytes bear sporangia that are subtended by leaf-like appendages called sporophylls.
    • In some cases sporophylls may form distinct compact structures called strobili or cones (Selaginella, Equisetum).
  • Life cycle

    • The sporangia produce spores by meiosis in spore mother cells.
    • The spores germinate to give rise to inconspicuous, small but multicellular, free-living, mostly photosynthetic thalloid gametophytes called prothallus.
    • These gametophytes require cool, damp, shady places to grow. Because of this specific restricted requirement and the need for water for fertilisation, the spread of living pteridophytes is limited and restricted to narrow geographical regions.
  • Sexual Reproduction –

    • The gametophytes bear male and female sex organs called antheridia and archegonia, respectively.
    • Water is required for transfer of antherozoids (the male gametes) to the mouth of archegonium.
    • Fusion of male gamete with the egg present in the archegonium result in the formation of zygote.
  • Development of zygote –

    • Zygote thereafter produces a multicellular well-differentiated sporophyte which is the dominant phase of the pteridophytes.


There are two types of sporophytes in pteridophytes –

  • Homosporous – all spores are of similar kinds, e.g., In majority of the pteridophytes.
  • Heterosporous – 2 types of spores are produced, (a) small, male microspores, and (b) large, female megaspores. e.g., Selaginella and

The megaspores and microspores germinate and give rise to female and male gametophytes, respectively.

The female gametophytes in these plants are retained on the parent sporophytes for variable periods.

The development of the zygotes into young embryos takes place within the female gametophytes. This event is a precursor to the seed habit considered an important step in evolution.

  • Economic uses –

    • Pteridophytes are used for medicinal purposes and as soil-binders.
    • They are also frequently grown as ornamentals.

The pteridophytes are further classified into four classes:


  1. Psilopsida – e.g.,Psilotum.
  2. Lycopsida – e.g., Selaginella, Lycopodium.
  3. Sphenopsida – e.g., Equisetum.
  4. Pteropsida – e.g., Dryopteris, Pteris, Adiantum.








  • Plants in which the ovules are not enclosed by any ovary wall and remain exposed, both before and after fertilisation.
  • The seeds that develop post-fertilisation, are not covered (naked).
  • Plant body / structure –

    • Gymnosperms include medium-sized trees or tall trees and shrubs. One of the gymnosperms, the giant redwood tree Sequoia is one of the tallest tree species.
  • Roots –
    • The roots are generally tap roots.
    • Roots in Pinus have fungal association in the form of
    • in Cycas small specialized roots called coralloid roots are associated with N2- fixing cyanobacteria.
  • Stem –
    • The stems are unbranched (Cycas) or branched (Pinus, Cedrus).
  • Leaves –
    • The leaves may be simple or compound.
    • In Cycas the pinnate leaves persist for a few years.
    • The leaves in gymnosperms are well-adapted to withstand extremes of temperature, humidity and wind.
    • In conifers, the needle-like leaves reduce the surface area. Their thick cuticle and sunken stomata also help to reduce water loss.
  • Development of spores and gametophyte –

The gymnosperms are They produce haploid microspores and megaspores.

Spores are produced within sporangia that are borne on sporophylls, which are arranged spirally along an axis to form lax or compact strobili or cones.

Male –

The strobili bearing microsporophylls and microsporangia are called microsporangiate or male strobili.

The microspores develop into a male gametophytic generation which is highly reduced and is confined to only a limited number of cells.

This reduced male gametophyte is called a pollen grain.

Female –

The cones bearing megasporophylls with ovules or megasporangia are called macrosporangiate or female strobili.

The megaspore mother cell is differentiated from one of the cells of the nucellus.

The nucellus is protected by envelopes and the composite structure is called an ovule.

The megaspore mother cell divides meiotically to form four megaspores.

One of the megaspores enclosed within the megasporangium (nucellus) develops into a multicellular female gametophyte that bears two or more archegonia or female sex organs.

The multicellular female gametophyte is also retained within megasporangium.

  • The male or female cones or strobili may be borne on the same tree – bisexual/monoecious – Pinus Or on different trees – unisexual/dioecious – Cycas.
  • In gymnosperms, the male and the female gametophytes do not have an independent free-living existence. They remain within the sporangia retained on the sporophytes.
  • Pollination and fertilisation –

    • Pollination occur By air.
    • The pollen grain develop pollen tube on opening of ovule to carry male gametes towards archegonia in ovules.
    • Following fertilisation, zygote develops into an embryo and the ovules into seeds.
    • These seeds are not covered.





ANGIOSPERMS (Flowering plants)

  • In the angiosperms pollen grains and ovules are developed in specialized structures called flowers.
  • In angiosperms, the seeds are enclosed by fruits.
  • The angiosperms are present in wide range of habitat.
  • Smallest angiosperm – Wolfia ; tallest angiosperm – Eucalyptus.
  • They provide us with food, fodder, fuel, medicines and several other commercially important products.
  • They are divided into two classes : the dicotyledons and the monocotyledons.
  • The dicotyledons are characterised by having two cotyledons in their seeds while the monocolyledons have only one.
  • The male sex organs in a flower is the stamen. Each stamen consists of a slender filament with an anther at the tip. The anthers, following meiosis, produce pollen grains.
  • The female sex organs in a flower is the pistil or the carpel. Pistil consists of an ovary enclosing one to many ovules. Within ovules highly reduced female gametophytes (embryosacs) are present. The embryo-sac formation is preceded by meiosis. Hence, each of the cells of an embryo-sac is haploid.

Each embryo-sac has a three-celled egg apparatus – one egg cell and two synergids, three antipodal cells and two polar nuclei.

The polar nuclei eventually fuse to produce a diploid secondary nucleus.

  • Pollen grain, after dispersal from the anthers, are carried by wind or various other agencies to the stigma of a pistil. This is termed as pollination.
  • The pollen grains germinate on the stigma and the resulting pollen tubes grow through the tissues of stigma and style and reach the ovule. The pollen tubes enter the embryo-sac where two male gametes are discharged.
  • Double fertilisation –

    • One of the male gametes fuses with the egg cell to form a zygote (syngamy).
    • The other male gamete fuses with the diploid secondary nucleus to produce the triploid primary endosperm nucleus (PEN). This process is known as Triple Fusion.
    • Because of the involvement of two fusions, this event is termed as double fertilisation.
  • Development of zygote –

    • The zygote develops into an embryo (with one or two cotyledons) and the PEN develops into endosperm which provides nourishment to the developing embryo.
    • The synergids and antipodals degenerate after fertilisation.
    • During these events the ovules develop into seeds and the ovaries develop into fruit.




  • In plants, both haploid and diploid cells can divide by mitosis. This ability leads to the formation of different plant bodies – haploid and diploid and alternation of generation.
  • The haploid plant body produces gametes by mitosis. This plant body represents a gametophyte.
  • Following fertilisation the zygote also divides by mitosis to produce a diploid sporophytic plant body. Haploid spores are produced by this plant body by meiosis. These in turn, divide by mitosis to form a haploid plant body once again.
  • Different types of life cycle in plants –
  1. Haplontic life cycle

In this, Sporophytic generation is represented only by the one-celled zygote and there are no free-living sporophytes. Meiosis in the zygote results in the formation of haploid spores. The haploid spores divide mitotically and form the gametophyte. The dominant, photosynthetic phase in such plants is the free-living gametophyte.

e.g., Volvox, Spirogyra and some species of Chlamydomonas.(most of the algae)

  1. Diplontic life cycle

In this, diploid sporophyte is the dominant, photosynthetic, independent phase of the plant. The gametophytic phase is represented by the single to few-celled haploid gametophyte.

e.g., All seed-bearing plants i.e. gymnosperms and angiosperms, some algae like Fucus.

  1. Haplo-diplontic / Intermediate life cycle –

In this, both gametophytic and sporophytic phases are multicellular and often free living.

e.g., Bryophytes (dominant phase – gametophyte) and pteridophytes (dominanat phase – sporophyte), some algae like Ectocarpus, Polysiphonia.




download thses notes in printable pdf file from link given below –

ncert ch 3 Copy

















Author: Dr. Anurag Mittal

B.D.S from Govt dental college, ahmedabad. Cleared Aipmt-06 renowned faculty of Biology since 2011.

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