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Difference Between Algae and Plants

Algae and plants

Here to grab the difference between algae and plants. Remember that the main variating factor between both these organisms is the nature of the cell. All plants, be it vascular or non-vascular are multicellular, whereas an alga can be multicellular or unicellular.

You can consider the life of algae simpler as compared to complicated plants. Furthermore, they both are autotrophs, so they prepare their food themselves through photosynthesis.

There are many chief differences between algae and plants that we have presented below. So, let’s figure them out in detail

Comparison Table

Basis of ComparisonAlgaePlants
KingdomBelongs to Kingdom ProtistaBelongs to Kingdom Plantae
Cellular NatureAlgae can be either unicellular or multicellularPlants are multicellular only
MobilityFreely floating in the water, some have attached flagella tooSessile species, so cannot move
Presence of Vascular BundlesNo bundles presentVascular structures present to perform their specific functions
Aquatic or TerrestrialAquaticTerrestrial
All Photosynthetic PigmentsChlorophyll, carotenoids & phycobilinChlorophyll and carotenoids only
Life FormSimpleComplex
The Function of Attached RootThe roots or rhizoids present do not have any role in absorbing nutrientsThe plant roots play a vital role in fetching water and nutrients from the soil

Algae – Brief Explanation

According to the latest research, there is a wide range of algae present (about 320,500) all around the globe. These organisms survive under the Kingdom Protista, where they live a simpler life form.

Algae are autotrophs that can exist as both a unicellular or multicellular species. Such organisms prepare their colonies underwater as there are no vascular bundles or anatomical variations present. They can also easily float underwater, having the facility of flagella for better mobility. A few of these bodies are found growing on the snow or on some animals, such as sloths.


Plants – Brief Explanation

Plants contain multple genera with diverse species under the Kingdom Plantae. As per a statement, there are almost 315,000 plants on Earth, with 290,000 being flowering plants. All plants are complex organisms with multicellularity that produce their food from chlorophyll and sunlight, and so are autotrophs.

All parts of a plant are particular in their functioning, such as different types of leaves, roots, and body trunk. Excluding a few, all of them are non-motile eukaryotes, with their roots absorbing water and essential nutrients from the soil. These absorbed nutrients further utilize unique structures called phloem and xylem to carry out their actions. Scientists have found a maximum of plants in the terrestrial ecosystem.


Know the Differences Between Algae & Plants

Scientific Classification


These organisms can be unicellular or multicellular, falling in Kingdom Protista.


Plants are complicated multicellular structures, falling under the Kingdom Plantae.

Vascular Structures


As algae are the simpler forms of life, they do not have any vascular structures present.


In contrast to algae, plants are grown with all basic vascular physiology, like xylem & phloem, connective tissues, veins, etc.

Degree of Movement



The roots and shoots system is absent in algae, but they can freely swim underwater. Algae sometimes have flagella for enhanced mobility too.


Plants have proper roots and shoot systems, being a complex species, and are prominently sessile (attached to the ground).



Most algae are aquatic, so found deep in the water where they can easily float as well. Besides that, these organisms can also be seen on snow and land.


These are the earthly species, always attached to the land surface. A few plants are present underwater as well.

Chemical Compositions

Both of these are autotrophs, but with a few variations in chemical composition.


These organisms have chlorophyll a and b, and carotenoid pigments besides the phycobilin substance.


Plants are autotrophs, only having carotenoids and chlorophyll in them.



These species can conveniently self-replicate themselves and utilize the sporadic reproduction system.


Plants have a bit intricate reproduction system also called sexual reproduction and utilize their body parts for pollination and fertilization.

Reach a Verdict!

From the detailed discussion above, we knew that there are several primary differences between algae and plants. The main distinguishing feature starts from being unicellular or multicellular. An alga lives a simple life, whereas plants go into complexity. The entire conversation is summed up at the point that both of the organisms have separate kingdoms!

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