Thallophytes are a polyphyletic group of non-mobile organisms that are grouped together on the basis of similarity of characteristics but do not share a common ancestor. They were formerly categorized as a sub-kingdom of kingdom Plantae. These include lichens, algae, fungus, bacteria and slime moulds and bryophytes.


Characteristics of Thallophyta

  1. They are usually found in moist or wet places.
  2. This is due to the absence of “true roots” and vascular tissue that is needed to transport water and minerals. Hence they are found in moist or wet places.
  3. They are autotrophic in nature.
  4. Most members of this group manufacture their own food. But a few members like fungi are dependent on other sources of food.,
  5. Reserve food is generally starch.
  6. After photosynthesis, glucose is produced and consumed almost immediately, the remaining glucose is converted into complex compounds called starch.
  7. They have a cell wall composed of cellulose around their cells.
  8. Absence of vascular tissue.
  9. Unlike other plants, xylem and phloem are absent. etc
  10. Sex organs are simple, single-celled, there is no embryo formation after fertilization.

Division of Thallophyta

The division Thallophyta is classified into two subdivisions: Algae and Fungi.

Division of Thallophyta


They are chlorophyll-bearing thalloid. They are autotrophic and largely aquatic plants. On a side note, it has been observed that green algae form a symbiotic relationship with sloths that are native to the lush tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. Sloth fur is very coarse and readily absorbs water. As a result, sloth fur forms a moist and damp environment for the algae to flourish. The algae in return provide the sloth with extra nutrition and camouflage from predators. Example: Spirogyra.


They are achlorophyllous (meaning: they do not produce chlorophyll) heterotrophic thallophytes. Sometimes, to overcome this handicap, fungi may develop a symbiotic relationship with an alga or a cyanobacterium. The algae can produce food as it has chlorophyll and the fungi in return provide a safe environment that shields the algae from UV rays. Lichen is an example where two organisms act as a single unit.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more detail about Thallophytes and other groups of organisms.

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  6. Why fungi is included as sub division of thallophyta in plant kingdom if we have already a fungi kingdom

    • Thallophyta is an abandoned sub-kingdom of kingdom Plantae. This means it is no longer used for classification. When it was in use though, fungi were included as a subdivision.

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