The main difference between flowering and nonflowering plants is their method of reproduction. Flowering plants rely on pollination for reproduction, where as nonflowering plants rely on dispersion to continue their life cycle.
Definition of Flowering
A flowering plant in simple terms is a plant that at some point during its life cycle produces a flower. A flowering plant is called an angiosperm. It is important to remember that the flower is part of the reproduction cycle. All flowering plants produce seeds.
Nonflowering Seed Plants
Nonflowering plants are those that never produce a flower. Some nonflowering plants still produce seeds; this type of plant is called a gymnosperm. Conifer trees—pines, for example—are among the most well-known gymnosperms.
Nonflowering Spore Plants
Mosses and ferns are the other two major types of plants that do not grow flowers. Mosses and ferns reproduce by spores instead of seeds.
Angiosperms Versus Gymnosperms
Angiosperms grow seeds inside a protective shell called the ovary. As the plant matures, what was the ovary becomes the fruit of the plant. Gymnosperms have what are called naked seeds, because they are not covered by anything. Gymnosperms do not produce fruit.
Seeds are produced when pollen (male sex germ) encounters the ovules (female sex germ). Some plants have both the pollen and ovules on them and can produce seeds independently. Other flowering plants must rely on pollination. Pollination is when pollen is carried from one plant to another either by the wind or by insects.
Spores grow on the underside of fern leaves and in moss. The spores dry out and fall off the plant. They are then carried away by the wind. Once they are exposed to a moist environment the spores can begin growing into a new plant.