Is Fungi A Plant? 5 Facts You Should Know


In this article, we will illustrate different concepts of fungi and clear the facts about is fungi a plant or not.

Fungi placed in different group from plants because of the presence of chitin in its cell wall. Plants cell do not have chitin in their cell wall but cellulose is present in its cell wall. Fungi do not photosynthesize (method of making food from sunlight by the plants).

Fungi includes association with plants, animals, bacteria or other fungi. Because of its small size, they are only noticeable at the fruiting stage either as mushroom or as molds. Fungi act as decomposer, plays an important role in the ecosystem.

Why are fungi not plants?

Fungi are grouped as plants because they do not have chloroplast in their cell. Fungi depends on the other organisms for their food and nutrition. In the terms of growth, they show only reproduction not physical growth. But the plant cells exhibit chloroplasts, physical growth and make their own food.

First reason that fungi lacks chloroplasts. Chloroplasts in the plants cell is very unique character of plants. We have some plants which do not have chloroplasts but those plants lost its chloroplast in the evolutionary process.

Plants are observable by the naked eyes. But the fungi are very small in size. They are not observable until they attain its fruiting stage. This feature makes fungi different from plants. Very important feature of fungi is chitin presence in its cell wall. Chitin is not present in the cell wall of plants but instead of chitin, cellulose is present.

Plants make their own food with the help of process photosynthesis by getting water from soil and carbon dioxide from air and prepare glucose , an organic compound and oxygen gas release into the atmosphere. Fungi do not have chlorophyll pigment responsible to carry out the photosynthesis process in absent in fungi. Fungi feed on other organisms. Fungi act as decomposer feed on organic matter and plants are the producer.

Why are fungi once classified as plants?

In the past, scientist believed that fungi are plants. They considered fungi to be the member of the plant kingdom because of similarities shred by the fungi and plants. Both the plant and fungi are immobile, grow in soil and having cell wall as outer layer of cell.

n the 1960s, all the organisms were grouped only into two kingdoms plants and animals mainly based on the physical appearance and external features. Two kingdom classification was given by Whittaker. The mobility and mode of the nutrition is basis for classification. For many decades only living organism which are rooted, not moving considered as plants and which are moving considered as animals. That’s the reason fungi grouped with plants.

Mushrooms were the earliest face (representatives) of the fungi to be classified. After studying the mushrooms characters, earlier scientists determined that fungi are motionless (immobile) and having rigid (tough) cell wall that support them. After studying the above features, it is easily determine that fungi are not animals and grouped them with the plants.

Similarities between fungi and plants

Fungi and plants shared some common features like having cell wall, non-motile and their mode of reproduction. As discussed above, in past they were placed together in the same group plants.

Both the plants and fungi are identified as eukaryotic organisms. Both the cells are multicellular in nature. Their cell wall is buffered by the cellulose. Some fungi can be used as food just like plants.

Lichens are mutualistic association of fungi with the plants looks for like plants due to its green colors. Fungi and plants both need water to grow. Both grow and emended into the surface where they grow.

Both fungi and plants have membrane bound organelle, which contains DNA wrapped with the histone’s protein in the nucleus. Other common organelles present in them are Mitochondria, Endoplasmic Reticulum and Golgi Apparatus inside their cells. Both the organisms make relationship with the other organisms like mutualism, commensalism etc.

Difference between fungi and plants

Molecular evidence i.e. studies of DNA showed that fungi share more common character with animals as compare to plants. Here we find out the different feature of plants and fungi.

FungiPlantsOften having more than one nucleus in the single cell : multinucleatedOne nucleus per cell : uninucleateFungi have mycelium, no rootsPlants have rootsFungi do not have storage moleculesPlants have starch as storage molecules.
Cell wall is made of chitinCell wall is made of cellulose in mist of cases, chitin is present often
Heterotrophic (extracellular digestion)Mostly autotrophic
Not a single species reproduces by seedsSome plants reproduce by the seeds.
Not visible by naked eyes, seen only after fruiting stageSeen by the naked eyes right after germination
Decomposer of the ecosystemProducer in an ecosystem
Fungi may have septate or aseptate cell wallPlants have definite cell wall
Fungal body is filamentous made up of mycelium and hyphae, non-parenchymatous cells absence of complex organs or differentiationBody of plants are divided into stems, roots and leaf
Examples: White button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus); Brewer’s yeast (Saccaromyces cerevisiae)Examples: mango trees (Magnifera indica); rose (Rosa Indica)
Fungi have haploid nucleiPlants have diploid nuclei

Conclusion

To wrap up our post, we can state that fungi are not related to the plants. However. It had its unique feature by virtue of that fungi placed in the different group. Fungi shared many characters with plants as well as animals. But evolutionary studies confirmed that fungi are not related to plants but share more closely relation with animals.

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