Xylem vs. Phloem: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

As plants prepare their food, they have a specialized type of conductive cells that carry out the process of transportation in plants. Plants can mainly be divided into two types, based on their conductive system; vascular plants & non-vascular plants. Vascular plants are those plants which have specialized conductive cells, Xylem and Phloem. Both these tissues make up the vascular bundles, which are held responsible for transportation of water, food and other nutrients. The Xylem tissue transports water from the roots to the other parts of the plant and also provides the mechanical support required by the plant. On the other hand, phloem is the food conducting tissue that has a bi-directional movement (up or down).

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Comparison Chart

Xylem Phloem
Main Function Xylem Tissues transport water and other minerals from the roots of the plants to the other parts. Phloem tissues transport food from the leaves of the plant to the other parts.
Movement Xylem tissues have unidirectional movement. Phloem tissues have bidirectional movement.
Mechanical Support Xylem Tissues provide mechanical support to the plant. Phloem tissues have no such function to do.
Location Xylem tissue is located in the center of the vascular bundle. Phloem is present on the outer area of the vascular bundle.
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What is Xylem?

Xylem is the complex tissue which is aka as Hydrome, it makes up the vascular bundle in the plants along with the phloem. The xylem tissue is held responsible for the transportation of water and mineral from the aerial parts of the plant to the other parts of the plants. It is unidirectional in movement as the water absorbed by the roots or root hairs of the plants get transported to the shoots of the plant. As these tissues have lignin cell other than water transportation, they play a pivotal role in the mechanical support of the plant. The presence of lignified secondary wall makes the xylem waterproof and also make it withstand the pressure of water transpiration. The Xylem tissues are also responsible for the water loss that takes place through the transpiration or the process of photosynthesis. It should be kept mentioned that water is an important constituent for the food making process (photosynthesis). The xylem travels it to the leaves of the plant where this process takes place in the presence of the sunlight. The Xylem tissues are made up of three types of dead cells; vessels, tracheids, and xylem fibers.

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What is Phloem?

Phloem is the tissue that transports food and other nutrients from the leaves of the plant to the other parts of the plant. As we know that food making process in plants takes place in leaves, the phloem tissues transport it to the different parts of the plant. The phloem transports the food and other useful products to the storage organs of the plant and the growing parts of the plant. The movement of food and nutrients through phloem is known as the translocation. Phloem is the elongated tube that has bidirectional movement as the movement of food, and other nutrients can be from up to down or down to up in this case. Along with the xylem tissues, phloem tissue makes up the vascular bundles in plants. The phloem tissues are present in the outer side of the vascular bundle.

Xylem vs. Phloem

  • Xylem Tissues transport water and other minerals from the roots of the plants to the other parts, whereas phloem tissues transport food from the leaves of the plant to the other parts.
  • Xylem tissues have unidirectional movement while phloem tissues have bidirectional movement.
  • Xylem Tissues provide mechanical support to the plant, whereas phloem tissues have no such function to do.
  • Xylem tissue is located in the center of the vascular bundle, on the other hand, phloem is present on the outer area of the vascular bundle.

Explanatory Video

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