Plants - Classification Based On Growth Habit

We see a huge variety of plants all around us. Among which few are terrestrial and aquatic plants. Despite this fact, they all have the same parts and the same functions, they appear unique with different types of roots, stem, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds etc. Therefore, the classification of plants is mainly based on several factors and it can be further classified based on their height, tenderness of stem, branches and their life cycle.

In this article, let us know in detail about the classification of Plants based on Growing Habits. Before that, let us define the term “Growth Habit.”

What is meant by Growth Habit?

In horticulture, the term growth habit refers to a change in the plant’s height, shape and the kind of growth it undergoes. There are genetic factors as well as environmental factors which play an important role in their growth habit.

For instance, interaction with various animals influences the way plants adapt to their environment. From an evolutionary perspective, growth habits have the function of ensuring the survival and adaptation of plants in various habitats, consequently increasing the chances of successfully passing on the genes to the next generation.

Plants And Its Classification

If we consider plants, based on their height, some are too short while some are too tall to climb. Besides the height, stem thickness, delicacy also varies.

For example– Short plants have greenish, soft, and tender stems, while big and tall plants or trees have a thick, strong and woody stem which are hard to break. 

Explore more: Classification of Plants

Based on the growth habit, plants are broadly categorized into three groups:

Types of Plants

Herbs, Shrubs and Trees

Classification Based on Growth Habits

  • Herbs: Starting from the smallest, herb is a short-sized plant with soft, green, delicate stem without the woody tissues. They complete their life cycle within one or two seasons. Generally, they have few branches or are branch less. These can be easily uprooted from the soil. Herbs contain enough nutritional benefits including vitamins and minerals to make it a part of a healthy balanced diet. Tomato, wheat, paddy, grass are a few examples of herbs.

Explore more: Herb and their Benefits

  • Shrubs: Shrubs are medium-sized, woody plants taller than herbs and shorter than a tree. Their height usually ranges between 6 m-10 m or 20 ft–33 ft tall. Their features include bushy, hard and woody stems with many branches. Although stems are hard, they are flexible but not fragile. The life-span of these plants are for many years. Rose, jasmine lemon, tulsi, and henna are some of the common shrubs around us.

Explore more: Shrubs and their Uses

  • Trees: Trees are big and tall plants. They have very thick, woody and hard stems called the trunk. This single main stem or the trunk gives rise to many branches that bear leaves, flowers and fruits. Some trees are branch less like coconut tree; i.e., they have only one main stem which bears leaves, flowers, and fruits all by itself. The life-span of the trees are very large. i.e, for several years. Banyan, mango, neem, cashew, teak, oak are some examples of trees.

In addition to these three categories of plants, there are two more types which need some support to grow. They are specifically called climbers and creepers.

Plants And Its Classification

Climbers and Creepers

  • Climbers: Climbers are much more advanced than creepers. Climbers have a very thin, long and weak stem which cannot stand upright but they can use external support to grow and carry their weight. These types of plants use special structures called tendrils to climb. Examples of climbers are pea plant, grapevine, sweet gourd, money plant, etc.

  • Creepers: Creepers, as the name suggests, are plants that creep on the ground. They have very fragile, long, thin stems that can neither stand erect nor support all its weight. Examples include watermelon, strawberry, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

Also Read: Photosynthesis Process

Learn more about Plants, its types, importance and other related topics @ BYJU’S Biology

Frequently Asked Questions

How do herbs differ from shrubs?

Herbs are a normal plant with soft, delicate stem and are perennial, which completes its life cycle in a year. Shrubs are taller than the herbs and have a hard woody stem with branches.

Briefly explain the classification of plants.

There are different varieties of plants and are mainly classified based on certain features including growth habit, presence or absence of specialized tissues, flowering and non-flowering plants, etc.

What is meant by Growth habit?

Growth habit mainly refers to the appearance, shape, height, and form of growth of a plant species. A plant’s growth habit develops from particular genetic patterns that determine growth.

State five examples of shrubs.

The most common examples of shrubs are rose, banana, marigold, china rose, and lemon.

What are the characteristics of herbs?

The characteristics of herbs are:

  1. They are small plants with a soft and delicate stem.
  2. They have a green, tender, soft and delicate stem.
  3. They have a short lifespan, which can live only for one or two seasons.
  4. They are shorter in size and they may grow between 2 to 3 meters tall.

What are climbers?

Climbers are the plants with long, week and very thin green stem, which use external support to grow and carry their weight.

Provide a few examples of climbers.

Beans, Cucumber, Grapevine, Gourd, Jasmine, and Money Plant are a few common examples of climbers.

Provide a few examples of creepers.

Pumpkin, Passionflowers and Sweet potato are a few common examples of creepers

What are creepers?

Creepers mainly refer to those plants which have a weak stem and are extended horizontally along with the soil on the ground as they cannot stand upright.

How are climbers different from creepers?

The main difference between climbers and creepers are:
Creepers spread their stem, leaves horizontally along with the soil on the ground and also bear flowers along with the fruits on the ground. The leaves of the creepers produce fibre-like roots which fix the plant to the ground and provide external support to grow further.
Climbers are plants with a tender stem which grow with the help of external support. These plants produce a twine or hook from their leaves to climb. Some plants produce special roots that serve as the holdfasts to climb around certain objects.

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