Difference Between Cryptogams and Phanerogams

Main Difference

The main difference between cryptogams and phanerogams is that cryptogams are the plants that are usually known as the non-spermatophytes, whereas the phanerogams are the plants that are usually known as the spermatophytes plants.

Cryptogams vs. Phanerogams

Cryptogams consist of Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, and Thallophyta, whereas phanerogams consist of angiosperms and gymnosperms. Cryptogams major reproduction method is the formation of spores, while phanerogams major reproduction method is the formation of gametes. Most cryptogams lack well-differentiated leaves, stem, and roots; on the other hand, the plant body of phanerogams have well-differentiated leaves, stems, and roots. The vascular system of cryptogams is not well developed; on the contrary, the vascular system of phanerogams is well-developed. The reproductive organs of cryptogams are hidden; on the flip side, the reproductive organs of phanerogams are well-developed. External water is required for fertilization in cryptogams; external water is not required for fertilization in phanerogams. Cryptogams are the seedless plants; conversely, phanerogams are the plants that bear seeds. In cryptogams, spores germinate and result in the production of new plants; on the other hand, in phanerogams, seeds germinate and result in the production of new phanerogams. Cryptogams are the plants that are less evolved, whereas phanerogams are the plants that are well-evolved compared to cryptogams. Some examples of cryptogams include liverworts, mosses, algae, ferns, and hornworts, while some examples of phanerogams include cycads, ginkgo, conifers, dicots, and gnetophytes.

Comparison Chart

CryptogamsPhanerogams
Cryptograms are referred to plants or plant-like organisms which produce spores.Phanerogams are referred to as a higher group of plants that produce seeds.
Classification
Consist of Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, and ThallophytaConsist of angiosperms and gymnosperms
Major Reproduction Method
The production of sporesThe production of gametes
Plant Body
Lack of well-differentiated leaves, stem, and rootsWell-differentiated leaves, stems, and roots
Vascular System
Not well developedWell-developed
Reproductive Organs
Have hidden reproductive organsReproductive organs are well-developed
External Water for Fertilization
External water is required for fertilizationExternal water is not required for fertilization
Seeds
Seedless plantsPlants that bear seeds
New Plants
Spores germinate and result in the production of new plantsseeds germinate and result in the production of new phanerogams.
Evolution
Less evolvedWell-evolved
Examples
Liverworts, mosses, algae, ferns, and hornwortsCycads, ginkgo, conifers, dicots, and gnetophytes

What are Cryptogams?

Cryptogams are considered as plant-like organisms or seedless plants. Cryptogams are present and form a sub-kingdom in the Plantae kingdom, which is called ‘Cryptogamae.’ The major distinguishing feature of cryptogams is that they reproduce through spores. Hence, cryptogams do not produce seeds, fruits, and flowers. Cryptogams consist of hidden reproductive organs in their body. The cryptogams plant body is not truly differentiated into leaves, roots, and stem. Most of the cryptogams do not even have a vascular system as well. The cryptogams sub-kingdom ‘Cryptogamae’ is further classified into three phyla: phylum Bryophyta, phylum Thallophyta, and phylum Pteridophyta.

Further Classification of Sub-Kingdom Cryptogamae

  • Thallophyta: They consists of both multicellular and unicellular organisms. The multicellular bodied organisms can be either filamentous or thallus-like. Organisms present in thallophyta belong to the three kingdoms: kingdom Protista, Kingdom Monera, and kingdom Fungi. In kingdom monera, the blue-green bacteria present in thallophyta. All green, red, and brown algae of kingdom Protista are also present in thallophyta. Further, all lichens accompanied by fungi also present in thallophyta.
  • Bryophyta: They contain hornworts, mosses, and liverworts, and. They mostly grow in humid, wet, and shady environments. The bryophytes plant body is not well-differentiated into the true stem, leaves, and roots. Bryophytes show alternation of generations with a noticeable gametophyte. Bryophytes are considered as non-vascular plants.
  • Pteridophytes: They consist of ferns. Ferns are the plants which are well-developed and grow mostly in dry or wet environments. Ferns normally show alternation of generations with an obvious sporophyte. They are truly-differentiated into true roots, leaves, and stem. Ferns are generally considered as vascular plants.

What are Phanerogams?

Phanerogams are a higher group of plants that have seeds. They are also known as spermatophyte. They are present and form a sub-kingdom in Plantae kingdom called ‘Phanerogamae.’ The main distinguishable feature of phanerogams is that they are seedbearing plants and have seeds in their plant body. They are vascular plants with well-differentiated body parts into roots, stem, and leaves. The sub-kingdom of phanerogams ‘Phanerogamae’ is further classified into angiosperms and gymnosperms.

Further Classification of Sub-Kingdom Phanerogamae

  • Gymnosperms: They are non-flowering plants which produce naked-seeds. Since gymnosperms develop from a single seed-leaf, that’s why they are monocots. Gymnosperms are vascular plants with a similar, unbranched vein arrangement in the leaves. Additionally, they are distributed into four phyla: phylum Ginkophyta, phylum Coniferophyta, phylum Cycadophyta, and phylum Gnetophyta.
  • Angiosperms: They are flowering plants which produce cover seeds through fruits. Angiosperms can be either dicots or monocots. They have differentiated vascular system, and their reproductive structure is the flower.

Key Differences

  1. Cryptogams contain Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, and Thallophyta, whereas phanerogams contain angiosperms and gymnosperms.
  2. Cryptogams main reproduction method is the production of spores, while phanerogams main reproduction method is the production of gametes.
  3. Many cryptogams have a deficiency of true-differentiated leaves, stem, and roots; on the other hand, the plant body of phanerogams have true-differentiated leaves, stems, and roots.
  4. The cryptogams vascular system is not well developed; on the contrary, the vascular system of phanerogams is well-developed.
  5. The reproductive organs of cryptogams are hidden; on the flip side, the reproductive organs of phanerogams are well-developed.
  6. External water is compulsory for fertilization in cryptogams; external water is not obligatory for fertilization in phanerogams.
  7. Cryptogams are the plants that do not have seeds; conversely, phanerogams are the plants that bear seeds.
  8. In cryptogams, spores grow and result in the production of new plants; on the other hand, in phanerogams, seeds sprout and result in the production of a new plant.
  9. Cryptogams are the plants that are not much evolved, whereas phanerogams are the plants that are well-evolved.
  10. Examples of cryptogams are liverworts, mosses, algae, ferns, and hornworts, while examples of phanerogams are cycads, ginkgo, conifers, dicots, and gnetophytes.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that cryptogams are plants that do not have seeds and their body is not well-differentiated, whereas phanerogams are the plants that bear seeds and have a well-differentiated body.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

View all posts by Janet White