Welcome to the fascinating world of the plant kingdom! You will be surprised to know that there are more than 3,90,000 species of plants known to mankind, with each varying from the other in a number of parameters. Since it is difficult to cover all of them in detail, botanists have categorized the different types of plants into easily recognizable groups, based on the similarities they share.
This article puts together some interesting information on the types of plants for kids and adults alike. With the growing awareness on the importance of flora to the world, learning about the various kinds of plants will certainly bring us one more step close to nature!
Plant Varieties: Different Types of Plants with Pictures:
Depending on their appearance, tenderness of the stem, growing habits, height and the overall life cycle, plants are classified into various groups. For example, certain taxonomies are made on the life span of a plant, while the others might be based on their growth environments, seed types etc., In this article, we shall briefly cover the various types of plants and their characteristics with examples under each.
1. Size and Appearance:
Observe the plants around you! Have you noticed that some plants are too big, while some are too small? Some are really strong and some are very delicate? Now that you see the differences in their size, physical appearance and their traits, let us understand how they are categorized:
They are big plants which grow really tall and some of them can easily reach upto a few hundred feet above the ground. Trees have a hard, main branch called the trunk, from which small branches emerge. They can either produce fruits, flowers or just stay green. Also, these types of plants have a very long lifespan.
- Examples: Banyan, Mango, Gulmohar, Coconut, Neem and Teak
Read More: Different Types of Tree Species
Shrubs are smaller plants, which are very strong and hard to pull out. Though they are easy to bend, they are not delicate or fragile. These kinds of plants grow in a size range of 6m – 30ft. They have a bushy appearance and have hard stems. Just like the trees, shrubs also live for many years with proper access to water and sunlight. They can either be flowering plants or non-flowering.
- Examples: Rose, Mulberry, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Aloe vera
These are weak and delicate plants, which are smaller in size compared to shrubs. They have a very soft stem and are usually branchless. Due to their rich nutritional profile, these types of plants have plenty of medicinal and culinary uses. You can easily grow them at home in small pots or tubs by sowing the seeds and watering them regularly.
- Examples: Basil, Tomato, Mint, Fenugreek, Rosemary
As the name suggests, they are thin plants, which cannot grow on their own without any support. They either use a wall, stick or surrounding plants to cling and move in an upward direction. Climbers can bear flowers, fruits or simply be used as decorative plants.
- Examples: Money Plant, Sweet Gourd, Cucumber, Bougainvillea
Creepers are quite opposite of Climbers. They crawl on the ground and grow horizontally, as they cannot carry their own weight. These plants have long, thin stems, which cannot stand on their own and are extremely delicate.
- Examples: Pumpkin, Strawberry, Watermelon, Bitter Gourd, Passion Flower
2. Living Conditions:
Did you know that not all plants can thrive in the same environment? Just the way fish lives in water and beetles in desserts, there are plants that grow in extreme weather conditions. Here are some of the types of plants based on where they live:
These plants need a moderate amount of water to grow and live in soil, which is neither too wet nor too dry.
- Examples: Maize, Daisy, Corn, Banana, Rose, Lawn Grass
See More: Different Types of Home Gardens
They are aquatic plants which grow only in water and can be either submerged, emergent or floating types. Their life begins and ends in water bodies, which are typical, ponds, lakes, rivers and even oceans. These plants cannot survive in normal soil conditions.
- Examples: Lotus, Sea Weed, Water Lily, Floating heart, Water Hyacinth
These are also called desert plants, as they grow only in dry and drought conditions. They have specially designed leaves and branches which store water for future use. Also, to ward off grazing animals, these plants grow sharp thorns.
- Examples: Cactus, Peyote, Poinsettia, Crown of Thorns, Prickly Pear
Epiphytes grow on the surface of other plants. However, they are not parasitic and do not damage the growth of the host plant. Instead, they bind on to the big trees and multiply in numbers.
- Examples: Fern, Moss, Tiger Orchid, Aerides Rosea, Aganisia Cyanea
3. Seed Types:
If you thought all plants produce the same number of seeds, you are so wrong! Seeds are like eggs which give rise to the next generation of plants. Some of them exist as a single entity, while some in clusters. Based on this, plants are categorized into the following:
These plants contain a single seed and are usually called monocots. Eg., Rice, Barley, Bamboo
Seeds of these plants contain two halves or cotyledons, which can be separated from the other. Eg., Cashew, Almond, Peanut etc.,
4. Food Habits:
Yes! Plants need food just like all of us! Although they are capable of making their own food, some plants depend on the others to get their nutrition. Here are the three basic categories of plants based on their food habits:
- Autotrophs: They are commonly seen plants, which grow their own food through a process called Photosynthesis. Autotrophs need sunlight, water and ground minerals to stay healthy.
- Carnivores: It’s shocking to know that there are many killer plants on earth, which thrive on blood and flesh of insects and even small animals which come close to them. Eg., Venus Flytrap, Nepenthes
- Parasite Plants: They grow on the surface of other plants and derive their energy from the hosts. Eg., Corpse Flower, Bird’s Nest Orchids
Along with the above-mentioned types of plant classifications, there is also one more category to know about – where do they grow?
Not all plants grow outside. Some of them are happy growing in cool and closed places where there is no direct sunlight. Based on this, they are divided into two groups– Outdoor and Indoor.
5. Outdoor Plants:
As the name suggests, Outdoor plants are those that grow in a natural, open environment. They need plenty of direct sunlight, fertile soil and water. These are again categorized into Annual plants (which grow once a year), Perennial Plants (which grow throughout the year), Binneal Plants (Which grow every two years). Most shrubs, plants, trees and herbs grow outdoor.
- Common Plants: Mango, Plantain, Coconut, Maple, Potato, Onion etc.,
- Bonsai Plants: Miniature trees that are grown in pots. Although indoor Bonsai plants are available, they mostly stay healthy when kept outdoors.
- Medicinal Plants: Most herbal plants like Ashwagandha, Neem, Tulsi, etc., are outdoor varieties.
6. Indoor Plants:
Indoor plants are also called Houseplants, as they grow in closed spaces of your room. They are mainly used for decorative purposes, but some of them are also known to purify the air and ward off insects. Growing these plants involves high maintenance, as they need the exact level of water, light (not direct sunlight) and right-sized pots.
- Succulent varieties: Cacti family of plants. These have succulent leaves, which are filled with liquid and soft to touch. Hence the name!
- Terrarium Plants: Terrariums are mini gardens which can be grown inside glass containers. Certain plants like Friendship plant, Holly Fern, Starfish Cactus, etc., which grow no more than a few inches tall are ideal for creating these beautiful arrangements.
We hope this article has given you a basic insight into the different types of plants, their names, along with pictures. Along with the above-mentioned taxonomies, there are many more based on the types of flowers, roots, fruits etc., You can go an extensive search on each of these to know more details. Also, if you have any more interesting information to share about the flora world, feel free to message us. We’d be happy to learn from you!