A word that includes plants and fungi, but not animals

Hello biologists and biology enthusiasts!

I am working on a project which includes information about plants and fungi. It would be very helpful for me if there a word that means plants-and-fungi, but I'm not sure there is. "Flora" only includes plants, but "biota" includes animals.


Short Answer

There is no such word that I can think of.

Long Answer

Note: although fungi were once considered to be lumped with plants, such classifications fell out of favor 60+ years ago (or sooner). See here for a summary.

Nomenclature "dead ends"

Using the traditional taxonomic approach (including Woese's familiar 3-domain classification system) will not provide the collective term you're looking for. Plants, Animals, and Fungi are all of the kingdoms rank in this system; the only higher rank than kingdom in this system is domain (in this case "Eukarya"), which would include all 3 kingdoms.

If we take a cladistics approach instead, we can investigate Phylogenetic nomenclature. This taxonomic approach lacks categorical ranks such as "kingdoms" and instead tends to use hierarchical group names based on nested ancestral synapomorphies. However, using this approach proves to be even less useful for finding the term you're looking for:

  • Generally ~6 (5-8) informal supergroups (sometimes called "suprakingdoms") have been recognized based on phylogenetic research. Importantly, 2 of these groups (i.e., clades) are the Opisthokonts (which include fungi and animals) and the Archaeplastids (which include plants). Since animals and fungi share a common ancestor more recently than plants, it's not possible to "lump" plants and fungi together without including animals (and a whole host of other organisms).

    You can see a recent publication (Burki et al., 2020) discussing an even more recent proposed organization for classifying Eukaryotes that maintains this phylogenetic distinction and separation between animals/fungi and plants.

Comment on the usage of "flora"

FYI, "flora" has broader usage beyond plants. "flora" can also be used for fungi (e.g., search "fungal flora" on Google). In fact, in microbiology, "flora" (or sometimes "microflora") is used to describe microorganisms in/on a system/host, which would include fungi, bacteria, etc. (For example, see gut flora).

I don't think "flora" is what you're looking for. I think referring to "all plants and fungi" as "flora" is not clear and will likely not get across the meaning you intend without further annotation/clarification.

Other thoughts:

I momentarily considered if being sessile would be a possible trait to use for delineating these organisms the way you're trying since by definition animals are not sessile (at least not at all stages of their lifecycle). However, many "protists" are also sessile and therefore such delineation would not be exclusive to plants and fungi. Further, I'm not sure all fungi are in fact sessile (though I can't think of any reason why not).

  • The phrase "multi-cellular sessile organisms" is probably much more exclusive and encompassing, but probably not 100% perfect. (However, at the point you'd be considering such phrases, I'd just suggest sticking with "plants and fungi" :p).

Perhaps someone else can come up with something, but I couldn't think of any non-outdated ways to accomplish your goal off the top of my head.

Animal, Plant, and Fungi Phylogeny: A Surprising Relationship in Eukaryota Phylogeny

Animals, plants, and fungi are the three major multicellular groups of the domain Eukaryota. Eukaryotes are organisms with complex cells which have features such as mitochondria and nuclei, and only Domain Eukaryota has evolved to have members consisting of many cells (although some eukaryotes, such as Amoeba and Paramecium, are single-celled).

Many fungi are superficially plant-like organisms. They grow visible structures that resemble plants or plant parts. On a microscopic level, plants and fungi both have cell walls, a feature that metazoan (animal) cells lack. The study of cladistics, however, results in a phylogeny tree in which fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants. In other words, animals have a more recent common ancestor with fungi than with plants, and the mushrooms in your salad are more closely related to you than to the lettuce.


Although fungi are primarily associated with humid and cool environments that provide a supply of organic matter, they colonize a surprising diversity of habitats, from seawater to human skin and mucous membranes. Chytrids are found primarily in aquatic environments. Other fungi, such as Coccidioides immitis, which causes pneumonia when its spores are inhaled, thrive in the dry and sandy soil of the southwestern United States. Fungi that parasitize coral reefs live in the ocean. However, most members of the Kingdom Fungi grow on the forest floor, where the dark and damp environment is rich in decaying debris from plants and animals. In these environments, fungi play a major role as decomposers and recyclers, making it possible for members of the other kingdoms to be supplied with nutrients and live.

121 Characteristics of Fungi

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

  • List the characteristics of fungi
  • Describe the composition of the mycelium
  • Describe the mode of nutrition of fungi
  • Explain sexual and asexual reproduction in fungi

Although humans have used yeasts and mushrooms since prehistoric times, until recently, the biology of fungi was poorly understood. In fact, up until the mid-20th century, many scientists classified fungi as plants! Fungi, like plants, are mostly sessile and seemingly rooted in place. They possess a stem-like structure similar to plants, as well as having a root-like fungal mycelium in the soil. In addition, their mode of nutrition was poorly understood. Progress in the field of fungal biology was the result of mycology : the scientific study of fungi. Based on fossil evidence, fungi appeared in the pre-Cambrian era, about 450 million years ago. Molecular biology analysis of the fungal genome demonstrates that fungi are more closely related to animals than plants. Under some current systematic phylogenies, they continue to be a polyphyletic group of organisms that share characteristics, rather than sharing a single common ancestor.

Mycologists are biologists who study fungi. Historically, mycology was a branch of microbiology, and many mycologists start their careers with a degree in microbiology. To become a mycologist, a bachelor’s degree in a biological science (preferably majoring in microbiology) and a master’s degree in mycology are minimally necessary. Mycologists can specialize in taxonomy and fungal genomics, molecular and cellular biology, plant pathology, biotechnology, or biochemistry. Some medical microbiologists concentrate on the study of infectious diseases caused by fungi, called mycoses. Mycologists collaborate with zoologists and plant pathologists to identify and control difficult fungal infections, such as the devastating chestnut blight, the mysterious decline in frog populations in many areas of the world, or the deadly epidemic called white nose syndrome, which is decimating bats in the Eastern United States.

Government agencies hire mycologists as research scientists and technicians to monitor the health of crops, national parks, and national forests. Mycologists are also employed in the private sector by companies that develop chemical and biological control products or new agricultural products, and by companies that provide disease control services. Because of the key role played by fungi in the fermentation of alcohol and the preparation of many important foods, scientists with a good understanding of fungal physiology routinely work in the food technology industry. Oenology, the science of wine making, relies not only on the knowledge of grape varietals and soil composition, but also on a solid understanding of the characteristics of the wild yeasts that thrive in different wine-making regions. It is possible to purchase yeast strains isolated from specific grape-growing regions. The great French chemist and microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, made many of his essential discoveries working on the humble brewer’s yeast, thus discovering the process of fermentation.

Cell Structure and Function

Fungi are eukaryotes, and as such, have a complex cellular organization. As eukaryotes, fungal cells contain a membrane-bound nucleus. The DNA in the nucleus is wrapped around histone proteins, as is observed in other eukaryotic cells. A few types of fungi have accessory genomic structures comparable to bacterial plasmids (loops of DNA) however, the horizontal transfer of genetic information that occurs between one bacterium and another rarely occurs in fungi. Fungal cells also contain mitochondria and a complex system of internal membranes, including the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus.

Unlike plant cells, fungal cells do not have chloroplasts or chlorophyll. Many fungi display bright colors arising from other cellular pigments, ranging from red to green to black. The poisonous Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) is recognizable by its bright red cap with white patches ((Figure)). Pigments in fungi are associated with the cell wall and play a protective role against ultraviolet radiation. Some fungal pigments are toxic to humans.

Like plant cells, fungal cells have a thick cell wall. The rigid layers of fungal cell walls contain complex polysaccharides called chitin and glucans. Chitin (N-acetyl-D-glucosamine), also found in the exoskeleton of arthropods such as insects, gives structural strength to the cell walls of fungi. The wall protects the cell from desiccation and some predators. Fungi have plasma membranes similar to those of other eukaryotes, except that the structure is stabilized by ergosterol: a steroid molecule that replaces the cholesterol found in animal cell membranes. Most members of the kingdom Fungi are nonmotile. However, flagella are produced by the spores and gametes in the primitive Phylum Chytridiomycota.


The vegetative body of a fungus is a unicellular or multicellular thallus. Unicellular fungi are called yeasts. Multicellular fungi produce threadlike hyphae (singular hypha). Dimorphic fungi can change from the unicellular to multicellular state depending on environmental conditions. Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) and Candida species (the agents of thrush, a common fungal infection) are examples of unicellular fungi ((Figure)).

Most fungi are multicellular organisms. They display two distinct morphological stages: the vegetative and reproductive. The vegetative stage consists of a tangle of hyphae, whereas the reproductive stage can be more conspicuous. The mass of hyphae is a mycelium ((Figure)). It can grow on a surface, in soil or decaying material, in a liquid, or even on living tissue. Although individual hyphae must be observed under a microscope, the mycelium of a fungus can be very large, with some species truly being “the fungus humongous.” The giant Armillaria solidipes (honey mushroom) is considered the largest organism on Earth, spreading across more than 2,000 acres of underground soil in eastern Oregon it is estimated to be at least 2,400 years old.

Most fungal hyphae are divided into separate cells by endwalls called septa (singular, septum ) ((Figure)a, c). In most phyla of fungi, tiny holes in the septa allow for the rapid flow of nutrients and small molecules from cell to cell along the hypha. They are described as perforated septa. The hyphae in bread molds (which belong to the Phylum Zygomycota) are not separated by septa. Instead, they are formed by large cells containing many nuclei (multinucleate), an arrangement described as coenocytic hyphae ((Figure)b).

Fungi thrive in environments that are moist and slightly acidic, and can grow with or without light. They vary in their oxygen requirement. Most fungi are obligate aerobes , requiring oxygen to survive. Other species, such as members of the Chytridiomycota that reside in the rumen of cattle, are obligate anaerobes , in that they only use anaerobic respiration because oxygen will disrupt their metabolism or kill them. Yeasts are intermediate, being facultative anaerobes . This means that they grow best in the presence of oxygen using aerobic respiration, but can survive using anaerobic respiration when oxygen is not available. The alcohol produced from yeast fermentation is used in wine and beer production.


Like animals, fungi are heterotrophs they use complex organic compounds as a source of carbon, rather than fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as do some bacteria and most plants. In addition, fungi do not fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Like animals, they must obtain it from their diet. However, unlike most animals, which ingest food and then digest it internally in specialized organs, fungi perform these steps in the reverse order digestion precedes ingestion. First, exoenzymes are transported out of the hyphae, where they process nutrients in the environment. Then, the smaller molecules produced by this external digestion are absorbed through the large surface area of the mycelium. As with animal cells, the polysaccharide of storage is glycogen, a branched polysaccaride, rather than amylopectin, a less densely branched polysaccharide, and amylose, a linear polysaccharide, as found in plants.

Fungi are mostly saprobes (saprophyte is an equivalent term): organisms that derive nutrients from decaying organic matter. They obtain their nutrients from dead or decomposing organic material derived mainly from plants. Fungal exoenzymes are able to break down insoluble compounds, such as the cellulose and lignin of dead wood, into readily absorbable glucose molecules. The carbon, nitrogen, and other elements are thus released into the environment. Because of their varied metabolic pathways, fungi fulfill an important ecological role and are being investigated as potential tools in bioremediation of chemically damaged ecosystems. For example, some species of fungi can be used to break down diesel oil and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Other species take up heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead.

Some fungi are parasitic, infecting either plants or animals. Smut and Dutch elm disease affect plants, whereas athlete’s foot and candidiasis (thrush) are medically important fungal infections in humans. In environments poor in nitrogen, some fungi resort to predation of nematodes (small non-segmented roundworms). In fact, species of Arthrobotrys fungi have a number of mechanisms to trap nematodes: One mechanism involves constricting rings within the network of hyphae. The rings swell when they touch the nematode, gripping it in a tight hold. The fungus then penetrates the tissue of the worm by extending specialized hyphae called haustoria . Many parasitic fungi possess haustoria, as these structures penetrate the tissues of the host, release digestive enzymes within the host’s body, and absorb the digested nutrients.


Fungi reproduce sexually and/or asexually. Perfect fungi reproduce both sexually and asexually, while the so-called imperfect fungi reproduce only asexually (by mitosis).

In both sexual and asexual reproduction, fungi produce spores that disperse from the parent organism by either floating on the wind or hitching a ride on an animal. Fungal spores are smaller and lighter than plant seeds. For example, the giant puffball mushroom bursts open and releases trillions of spores in a massive cloud of what looks like finely particulate dust. The huge number of spores released increases the likelihood of landing in an environment that will support growth ((Figure)).

Asexual Reproduction

Fungi reproduce asexually by fragmentation, budding, or producing spores. Fragments of hyphae can grow new colonies. Somatic cells in yeast form buds. During budding (an expanded type of cytokinesis), a bulge forms on the side of the cell, the nucleus divides mitotically, and the bud ultimately detaches itself from the mother cell ((Figure)).

The most common mode of asexual reproduction is through the formation of asexual spores, which are produced by a single individual thallus (through mitosis) and are genetically identical to the parent thallus ((Figure)). Spores allow fungi to expand their distribution and colonize new environments. They may be released from the parent thallus either outside or within a special reproductive sac called a sporangium .

There are many types of asexual spores. Conidiospores are unicellular or multicellular spores that are released directly from the tip or side of the hypha. Other asexual spores originate in the fragmentation of a hypha to form single cells that are released as spores some of these have a thick wall surrounding the fragment. Yet others bud off the vegetative parent cell. In contrast to conidiospores, sporangiospores are produced directly from a sporangium ((Figure)).

Sexual Reproduction

Sexual reproduction introduces genetic variation into a population of fungi. In fungi, sexual reproduction often occurs in response to adverse environmental conditions. During sexual reproduction, two mating types are produced. When both mating types are present in the same mycelium, it is called homothallic , or self-fertile. Heterothallic mycelia require two different, but compatible, mycelia to reproduce sexually.

Although there are many variations in fungal sexual reproduction, all include the following three stages ((Figure)). First, during plasmogamy (literally, “marriage or union of cytoplasm”), two haploid cells fuse, leading to a dikaryotic stage where two haploid nuclei coexist in a single cell. During karyogamy (“nuclear marriage”), the haploid nuclei fuse to form a diploid zygote nucleus. Finally, meiosis takes place in the gametangia (singular, gametangium) organs, in which gametes of different mating types are generated. At this stage, spores are disseminated into the environment.

Review the characteristics of fungi by visiting this interactive site from Wisconsin-online.

Section Summary

Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that appeared on land more than 450 million years ago, but clearly have an evolutionary history far greater. They are heterotrophs and contain neither photosynthetic pigments such as chlorophyll, nor organelles such as chloroplasts. Because fungi feed on decaying and dead matter, they are termed saprobes. Fungi are important decomposers that release essential elements into the environment. External enzymes called exoenzymes digest nutrients that are absorbed by the body of the fungus, which is called a thallus. A thick cell wall made of chitin surrounds the cell. Fungi can be unicellular as yeasts, or develop a network of filaments called a mycelium, which is often described as mold. Most species multiply by asexual and sexual reproductive cycles and display an alternation of generations. In one group of fungi, no sexual cycle has been identified. Sexual reproduction involves plasmogamy (the fusion of the cytoplasm), followed by karyogamy (the fusion of nuclei). Following these processes, meiosis generates haploid spores.


In this lesson, we discussing five kingdom classification.

Five kingdom classification is proposed by R.H.Whittaker in 1969. the kingdom defined by him were named Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.

In this lesson, we show a brief introduction to these kingdoms for more information on kingdom please visit a particular lesson on that kingdom.

Main Criteria used for this classification are cell structure, thallus organization, mode of nutrients, reproduction and phylogenetic relationship. Besides these major characteristics, he has also given importance to characters of ecological role-played and mode of reproduction.

Major criteria on which five-kingdom classification is based

Cell typeProkaryoticEukaryoticEukaryoticEukaryoticEukaryotic
Cellular organizationUnicellularUnicellularMulticellularMulticellularMulticellular
Nutrition modeVariablePhtotrophic/ heterotrophic/ chaemoautotrophicPhototrophic/ heterotrophicAutotrophic (photosynthesis)Heterotrophic (absorption)Heterotrophic (ingestion)
ReproductionAsexualAsexual or sexual without embryo stageAsexual or sexual with embryo stageAsexual or sexual with sporeSexual with embryo stage
Ecological roleVariableVariableProducerDecomposerConsumer

He also attempted to establish a phylogentic relationship amongst various groups of different kingdoms.

According to him the earliest living forms (progenote) produced prokaryotic organisms or monerans. Monera gave rise to protists probably through association of several types of primitive and advanced monerans. Protists in tern gave rise to fungi, plants and animals.

The characteristic features and members of each of five kingdoms are briefly discussed:

A word that includes plants and fungi, but not animals - Biology

Featured Organisms and Locality (p. 127):
Spider crabs and seaslugs of Sagami Bay, Japan

I. Classification
a) The Five Kingdoms System of Whittaker
(Note: While still wildly popular with textbook
authors, and advocated by some biologists such
as Lynn Margulis, this is really a breakdown of
life by functional and nutritional categories.
An alternative view, proposed by Carl Woese,
is gaining in popularity because it more accurately
reflects the actual historical relationships of life forms:
This view is called the Three Domains of Life System -
Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya)
terms: kingdoms, Plantae = vascular plants, Fungi,
Animalia = Metazoa or multicellular animals,
Protista = arbitrary grouping of organisms whose
cells have a nucleus (i.e., eukaryotes) but excluding
multicellular plants, fungi, and animals,
not to be confused with prokaryotes (or Monera)
= arbitrary grouping of all organisms except those
whose cells have a nucleus (eukaryotes)
Note: Most current taxonomists try to only formally name
groupings that are clearly monophyletic. In contrast, many
traditional names, including "prokaryotes," "protists,"
"invertebrates," and "agnathans" are paraphyletic groupings
defined by features they lack, such as a cell nucleus, multicellularity,
a backbone, or a jaw, respectively. Another way to try to carve
up biotic diversity into monophyletic groups is to increase the
number of kingdoms, for example with the 10 Kingdom approach.

RQ 6.1: Contrast how life is classified in the Five Kingdoms System
vs. the Three Domains System. Which kingdom is broken up
into separate domains and which kingdoms are combined into
a single domain?

b) The Names of Organisms
terms: phylum, class, order, family, genus, species
(these are "ranks" used in a "ranked" hierarchical
taxonomy - it is also possible to classify all of life
without them in an "unranked" hierarchical taxonomy)
taxon (plural is taxa), taxonomist, systematist,
taxonomy (= classifying life), systematics (taxonomy
+ evolutionary history of life, includes taxonomy),
scientific binomial name, e.g., Glyptocephalus zachirus
abbreviated G. zachirus. Note genus is capitalized,
species is not, scientific name is always in italics or
underlined, common name is not: West Coast flatfish
but note this common name refers to multiple species
of other "flatfish" species, and even if one refers to
a more specific common name, such as "Rex sole,"
this has problems because it is known by different
common names elsewhere. See Fig. 6.4 for more
examples of a common name varing with location.
The definition of a species is also problematic. The
most popular (but not necessarily the best) is the
biological species concept, proposed by Ernst Mayr.
This species concept generally works best for
living populations whose members engage in sexual
interbreeding, and less well for fossils or "species"
that reproduce without sexual cross-fertilization.

RQ 6.2: Why is a scientific binomial name sometimes more
precise than a common name?

II. Bacteria (includes Cyanobacteria)
terms (Box 6.1, p. 134): meter (m), millimeter (mm),
micrometer (µm), nanometer (nm) (1 m = 1000 mm,
1 mm = 1000 µm, 1 µm = 1000 nm)
terms (p. 135): anaerobic or aerobic photosynthesis

RQ 6.3: How big are typical "microbial" organisms?

a) Cyanobacteria - Ancient Transformers of the Earth
terms: formerly known as "blue-green algae" but
cyanobacteria are bacteria that engage in aerobic
photosynthesis, stromatolites are the fossilized
slime secreted by ancient cyanobacteria, as still
being produced in some salty bays such as
Sharks Bay, Australia

RQ 6.4: Based on abundant ancient stromatolite fossils, it
is apparent that cyanobacteria had an extremely important
role in transforming the Earth as a habitat for life billions
of years ago. What did they do that was so important?

b) (Other) Bacteria - Essential to Closure of Ecological Cycles
Note: Bacteria reproduce very rapidly so can quickly exhaust
available O2 dissolved in seawater (see Chapter 3 notes).
terms: refractory materials (are indigestable to all but
bacteria, who make them available to other organisms)

c) Archaea (no section in the book but there should be we
are just beginning to characterize the diverse organisms
included in this domain of life - including some that live
at near boiling temperatures in deep-sea - hot vents)

RQ 6.5: Give three examples of where one could find a
member of the most recently recognized domain of life,

III. Protists (i.e., members of Eukarya that are not plants,
fungi, or animals)

RQ 6.6: What problem do auxospores help solve for diatoms?

2) Dinoflagellates are distinguished by cellulose, flagella,
and diversity
terms: armored (with cellulose plates) vs. unarmored, flagella,
bioluminescence, red tides, toxic red tides, paralytic shellfish poisoning,
ciguatera (important concern in Caribbean and elsewhere in tropics),
zooxanthellae (symbiotic cells in corals and anemones), coral reef

RQ 6.7: How do zooxanthellae and their anemone, coral (or other animal)
hosts mutually benefit from their association?

3) Microflagellates are tiny, diverse, abundant, and dominant?
terms: microflagellates (includes coccolithophores with coccolith
plates, also green flagellates such as Chlamydomonas)

RQ 6.8: If microflagellates are sometimes even more abundant than
diatoms and dinoflagellates, why was this not generally appreciated
until recently?

b) Nonphotosynthetic Protists
terms: forams, ciliates, cilia, radiolarians

a) Seaweeds, Kelp, and Other Algae
terms: gametophyte, sporophyte, gametes, meiosis, spores, zygote

RQ 6.9: Why are brown algae brown? What are some ways they are

2) Green algae resemble land plants in several ways
terms: chlorophyll a, starch, chlorophytes (green algae + land plants)

RQ 6.10: What main evidence suggests land (vascular) plants share a
common ancestor with green algae, relative to other algae?

b) Land Plants in the Sea
terms: vascular tissue, roots

RQ 6.11: What is at least one advantage that land plants have, relative
to algae, for life in the sea? Why, then, are land plants not more
common in the sea?

1) Grasses and grasslike plants are prominent in salt marshes
and submerged meadows
terms: salt marsh plants (Spartina), eelgrass, rhizomes, sea grasses

There are mainly three types of biology

  1. Zoology
  2. Botany and
  3. Microbiology

Apart from the above ones, there are many other branches of biology. The mentionable branches or types among them are given below:

  • Taxonomy
  • Anatomy
  • Morphology
  • Cytology
  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Embryology
  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Evolution / Evolutionary Biology
  • Eugenics
  • Exobiology
  • Paleontology
  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Marine Biology
  • Mycology
  • Photobiology
  • Parasitology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Radiobiology
  • Theoretical Biology

1. Zoology:

Zoology scientifically studies various aspects such as structure, behavior, classification, distribution, and physiology of animals. Aristotle is called the &ldquofather of Zoology&rdquo. Animal science is another name of zoology.

Zoology is descriptive as well as analytical. It is basic science and at the same time, is an applied science. A basic zoologist is only concerned with the knowledge of animals but not with the application of the gained knowledge. An applied zoologist is concerned with the information which will directly help animals and humans (e.g. medicine).

2. Botany:

Botany deals with the scientific study of various aspects of plants such as their structure, physiology, ecology, and genetics. Theophrastus is called the &ldquofather of Botany&rdquo. Plant science is another name of botany.

Botany researches can be divided into different categories depending on which subcategory of biology the research is based on. For instance, botanists can study plant genetics, plant anatomy, ecology, cytology, biophysics, biochemistry, physiology, plant taxonomy, molecular biology, microbiology, and paleobotany. Botanists can also study on a particular type of plants such as bryology (the study of mossesli), lichenology (the study of lichens), mycology (the study of fungi), pteridology (the study of ferns), and phycology (the study of algae). Applied botany includes agronomy, forestry, food science, horticulture (production of ornamental crops and plants), plant breeding, natural resource management, and plant pathology.

3. Microbiology:

Microbiology studies various aspects of microscopic organisms. These microscopic organisms can be acellular, multicellular, or unicellular. Leeuwenhoek is called the &ldquofather of Microbiology&rdquo.

Other Branches or Types of Biology

Taxonomy: Taxonomy discusses the nomenclature, identification, and classification of living organisms.

Anatomy: Anatomy studies the internal structure of organisms that can be seen with eyes after dissection.

Morphology: Morphology deals with the study of the size, external forms, color, shape, relative position, and structure of the different living organs of alive beings.

Cytology: Cytology focuses on the structure and form of cells and also the activities of the nucleus and additional organelles.

Histology: Histology studies the structure and organization of tissues as seen through a light microscope.

Molecular Biology: Molecular biology deals with the study of the structure, nature, function, physicochemical organization, interaction, and synthesis working of bio-molecules. These biomolecules bring about and command different functions of the protoplasm.

Cell Biology: Cell biology discusses the organizational, morphological, physiological, biochemical, pathological, genetic, evolutionary, and developmental aspects of cell and its elements.

Embryology: Embryology studies the fertilization, division, differentiation, and growth of the zygote into an embryo. In other words, it discusses the early development of alive organisms before the achievement of the size and structure of the offspring.

Physiology: Physiology focuses on the normal functions and processes of living beings and their body parts.

Genetics: This type or branch of biology studies genes, heredity, and genetic variation in alive organisms. Heredity discusses the expression and transmission of qualities from parents to children or offspring.

Ecology: Ecology discusses the relations of living organisms to one another and the environment.

Evolution/Evolutionary Biology: Evolution or evolutionary biology discusses life&rsquos origin and new forms of the organism from the previous types by modifications including adaptations and changes.

Eugenics: Eugenics is a form of biology dealing with aspects related to impairment or improvement of the race, particularly that of humans.

Exobiology: Exobiology scientifically enquires life&rsquos possibility in the outer space.

Paleontology: Paleontology studies the impressions and remains of past organisms available in the rocks of various ages. More precisely, it studies fossils.

Virology: Virology is the type or branch of biology that studies viruses and their every aspect.

Immunology: Immunology is a branch of medicine and biology which deals with immunity.

Marine Biology: Marine biology scientifically studies the organisms living in the ocean. It studies the ocean ecosystems.

Mycology: Mycology scientifically focuses on fungi.

Photobiology: Photobiology scientifically discusses the interactions of living organisms and light.

Parasitology: Parasitology is the branch or type of medicine or biology which is focused on parasitic organisms.

Biophysics: Biophysics applies the laws of physics to the learning of biological phenomena or living organisms.

Biochemistry: Biochemistry applies chemistry to the learning of living organisms. It is the branch or type of biology that deals with the physicochemical and chemical processes occurring within living beings.

Biotechnology: Biotechnology is the application of biological processes e.g. micro-organisms&rsquo genetic manipulation for the production of hormones, antibiotics, etc.

Structural Biology: Structural biology is a type or branch of molecular biophysics, biochemistry, and biology. It discusses biological macromolecules&rsquo molecular structure.

Radiobiology: Radiobiology studies ionizing radiation&rsquos action on living organisms.

Theoretical Biology: Theoretical biology is also known as mathematical biology. It is a field of scientific research that uses a range of mathematical applications in medicine, biology, and biotechnology.

Difference Between Fungi and Plants

Fungi vs Plants
Both fungi and plants were considered to be of the same group of living things till recently. However, they are now categorized under different groups. Plants and fungi make up two of the five groups that comprise the kingdom of living things on earth. The identification of these differences between the two is a comparatively recent phenomenon. It was only possible when the microscope was discovered in 1700.

The most important difference between plants and fungi is that plants can make their own food, while fungi cannot. As you know, plants use carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to create their own food. This process is known as photosynthesis. Fungi, on the other hand are incapable of making their own food. They usually eat off their host as parasites or decompose matter and take it as their food. This is the most important difference you need to remember about plants and fungi.

This brings us to the second difference. Fungi do not possess chlorophyll, that green substance that gives plants their beautiful green color and helps in photosynthesis.

The next difference between plants and fungi relate to their method of reproduction. As we all know, reproduction is one of the main things that differentiate a living thing from a nonliving one. Plants reproduce through pollen and seeds. However, fungi reproduce through numerous spores. They do not have pollen, fruit or seeds.

Another important difference between them relates to the way they are attached. All plants have a system of roots that attach the plant to the ground and help it in soaking moisture. However, if you were to look at fungi very closely, you would find them spreading a sort of net of filaments on the surface of the plant or whatever they are attaching to. This helps them attach to their host. There are no complex root systems, stems or leaves in fungi.

Plants and fungi also have different roles to play in the whole ecological system. Plants are predominantly considered to be producers, because they produce food. They create biomass through the process of photosynthesis. The role of fungi is just the opposite. They are the decomposers who break down biomass. Imagine what this earth would be without these busy cleaners- just a large dustbin that was never cleaned out!

Finally, the cell walls on a plant are lined with cellulose, while those of the fungi are made of chitin- a material that is also found on the exoskeletons of crabs, lobsters and insects.

1. Plants have chlorophyll and can produce their own food, fungi live off others, and they cannot produce their own food.
2. Plants reproduce through seeds and pollen, fungi reproduce through spores
3. Plants have roots, stem sand leaves. Fungi only have filaments which attach to the host.
4. Plants are the producers in the eco system, fungi are the decomposers.
5. The cell walls on plants are made of cellulose, while those of fungi are made of chitin.


Commonly called molds, Deuteromycetes are "second-class" fungi carrying no sexual state in their life cycle, reproduced only by producing spores via mitosis. This state of asexual fungi is called Anamorph. In other words, this imperfect fungi class are in artificial fungi, of which there are approx fifteen thousand species because of the asexual reproductive mechanism.

Deuteromycetes is also known as the Deuteromycota, Deuteromycotina, fungi imperfecti, and mitosporic fungi.

Reproduction in Deuteromycetes

The reproduction phase in Deuteromycetes takes place in different forms. Spores or Conidia is one such form produced directly on the mycelium or on the structure of specialized mycelial cells called Conidiophores. Some forms of these Deuteromycetes don't produce spores. Moreover, non sporulating fungi are able to propagate themselves by fragmenting the hyphae or by producing a mass of hyphae called a sclerotium. Sclerotia can be microscopic in size or as large as several millimetres in diameter.

Characteristics of Deuteromycetes

Deuteromycetes fungi carry some silent features that make them worth studying.

Deuteromycetes occur as saprophytes on a wide range of substrates, but a large number of these fungi are parasites on plants and animals. This causes a variety of diseases. Leaf- spots, blights, blotch, wilts, rots, anthracnose, etc. are the important diseases of plants, while diseases like meningitis, candidiasis, skin diseases, nail diseases, and others are caused in animals.

The mycelium is made up of profusely branched and septate hyphae posing multinucleate cells and simple pore septa.

The hyphae may be intracellular and their cell wall chiefly contains chitin-glucan.

Deuteromycetes reproduces only asexually. This method of asexual reproduction takes place by hyphal fragments, budding, arthrospores (flat-ended asexual spores formed by the breaking up of cells from the hypha), chlamydospores (thick-walled modified cells functioning as resting spores), and others.

The cell of conidiophores producing conidia is called a conidiogenous cell and is produced either at the tip or side of the conidiogenous cell either single or in chains.

The conidiophores are either free or aggregated to form specialized structures like Synnemata and Sporodochia. When they are large, the conidiophores are formed in specialized fruiting layers which are present within the specialized fruiting bodies called Conidiomata.

There is a low sexual reproduction, but the parasexual cycle generally operates in their life to fulfil sexuality requirements.

Deuteromycetes Fungi as Pathogens

There are thousands of Deuteromycetes species that are pathogenic to plants and plant parts. Many of these are responsible for the degradation of foods which includes fruits and vegetables. All Deuteromycetes, like other types of fungi, are Heterotrophic and need to attach to an organic substrate. All major food products are the best substrates for fungi because, within a short period of time, the fungi will consume and destroy these fruits.

There are some fungi that are eligible to produce toxic chemicals harmful to those who like to eat rotting food. One such is the aflatoxin, produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, and are majorly found on peanuts.

Deuteromycetes Classification

The Deuteromycetes is an artificial grouping in which the phylogenetic relationships among taxa are mostly unknown or not apparent. This classification comes under the mitotic states of meiotic groups such as basidiomycetes and especially the Ascomycetes. A small number of taxa has been correlated with meiotic states but the majority hasn't.

There are different formal and informal names used in the past for groups of mitotic fungi. The most common is Deuteromycotina, Deuteromycetes, Fungi Imperfecti, asexual fungi, conidial fungi, and anamorphic fungi.

Top Biology Questions and Answers – Learn the Basics of Biology Part 4 (76-100)

76) What discovery formed the basis of agriculture?

Answer: Seeds are the source of replenishment of plants.

77) Where did the multicellular plant life originate?

Answer: In the underwater surfaces of seashores.

78) One of the major components of the cell wall of most fungi is

(a) Chitin (b) Peptidoglycan (c) Cellulose (d) Hemicellulose

79) Which is the largest algae? To which group does it belong?

Answer: Macrocystis pyrifera. It belongs to Phaeophyta or brown algae.

80) What is the major role of reproduction in nature?

Answer: Perpetuation of the race.

Answer: Effect of pollen on endosperm.

82) Which one of the following statements is wrong?

(a) Cyanobacteria are also called blue-green algae (b) Golden algae are also called desmids (c) Eubacteria are also called false bacteria (d) Phycomycetes are also called algal fungi

Answer: Kelps are large seaweeds.

84) What is the common name of Agaricus?

85) Write few examples of Kelps:

Answer: Laminaria, Nereocystis, Macrocystis.

86) Chrysophytes, Euglenoids, Dinoflagellates and Slime moulds are included in the kingdom

(a) Monera (b) Protista (c) Fungi (d) Animalia Chapter 3: Plant Kingdom

87) Give two examples of epizoic green algae:

Answer: Trichophilus on sloth, Characium on Crustacean.

88) What is the name of the fruit body of polyporus?

89) Give an example of two common ferns:

Answer: Adiantum, Dryopteris.

90) Which one of the following shows isogamy with non-flagellated gametes?

(a) Sargassum (b) Ectocarpus (c) Ulothrix (d) Spirogyra

91) What is a walking fern?

Answer: It is a fern where leaf tips develop into new plants if they happen to touch the ground.

Answer: The pinnately compound leaves of fern are called fronds.

Answer: It is a fern in which stem is a aerial.

94) Which one of the following is wrong about Chara?

(a) Upper oogonium and lower round antheridium. (b) Globule and nucule present on the same plant. (c) Upper antheridium and lower oogonium. (d) Globule is a male reproductive structure.

95) Write an example of a walking fern:

Answer: The study of grasses is called Agrostology.

97) Write two examples of a tree fern:

98) Which of the following is responsible for peat formation?

(a) Marchanita (b) Riccia (c) Funaria (d) Sphagnum

99) Write an example of a cycads:

100) Plants that grow in water are called hydrophytes. What name is given to plants that grow in desert conditions?