Characteristics of Seedless Vascular Plants

Seedless vascular plants are water-conducting plants that reproduce using spores--like fungi--instead of seeds. They fall into the following categories or phyla: psilophyta, lycophyta and phenophyta, and also include pteophyta, or ferns. Common types of seedless vascular plants include spike and club mosses, horsetails, whisk ferns and quillwort. When examining the characteristics of seedless vascular plants, you should make sure to consider their structure, color, life cycle, spore dispersal and habitat.

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Seedless vascular plants have stems, leaves and roots, although visually these characteristics might seem indistinguishable or undeveloped. According to Ohio State University's Horticulture and Crop Science website, seedless vascular plants use a tissue called xylem to absorb water and dissolve nutrients. This tissue is surrounded by another tissue called phloem, which conducts sugars. The cell walls of seedless vascular plants--according to made from cellulose and pectin.


The color of seedless vascular plants varies from species to species, but is always some shade of green. According to, the color in these plants is produced by the chemicals chlrorophylls A and B, as well as the pigments xanthophyll and carotenoid.

Life Cycle

Seedless vascular plants have an alternation of generations life cycle. According to Clinton Community College's website, this means that the sporophyte phase, which produces spores, and the gametophyte phase, which produces gametes, occur independently of each other. Also in seedless vascular plants, their gametes consist of the sperm-producing structures antheridia and the egg-producing archegonia.

Spore Dispersal

Like the vast majority of fungi, seedless vascular plants rely on the wind to disperse spores. Spore dispersal occurs after the sporophyte phase, and if successful, it deposits spores in a suitable location for reproduction, which sets up the gametophyte phase.


In order for new seedless vascular plants to develop, spores need to land in moist areas. As such, most seedless vascular plants grow near streams, ponds, lakes or other areas with lots of available moisture. Vascular plants need moisture in order to develop because of their sperm, which are flagellated and cannot reproduce without water.