Difference Between Thorns and Spines

Superficially, thorns and spikes look almost identical. However, these structures are formed from different parts of the plant. Botanically, the thorn is a modified stem while a spine is a modified leaf. Furthermore, both of these structures perform similar functions. Read on to explore the differences between the two.

Difference Between Spines and Thorns

Spines

Thorns

Spines are technically modified leaves

Thorns are technically modified stems

Spines often occupy same position as leaves

Thorns are usually formed in place of buds (in the leave’s axil)

Primarily function is defence. Also, spines prevent excess transpiration

Thorns are also used for defence. They also aid in climbing

Spines are usually not connected with vascular tissues

Thorns are connected to vascular tissues

Spines have an exogenous origin

Thorns have an endogenous origin

Spines are not deeply seated

Thorns are deeply seated

Example: Agave

Example: Duranta

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