What Are the Characteristics of Plants?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 27, 2020 12:00:28 AM ET
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Plants are eukaryotic, meaning their cells have a nucleus. They form tissues, have multiple cells and create food through photosynthesis, which is the process of turning sunlight into energy.


Another characteristic of plants is that they do not voluntarily move, though they may grow branches in a particular direction. Animals have to move in order to search for food, but plants remain stationary because they make their own food. While some marine plants float on water, they do not move of their own volition.

Most plants branch. Because sunlight, water and air are necessary for photosynthesis, the branching allows the plant to absorb as much of these necessities as possible. Unlike different species of animals that have a specific shape, plants of the same species do not have a preset shape or size. Both are influenced in part by the environment. The plant does not grow uniformly. Some parts grow faster than others.

Plants have neither a nervous system nor an excretory system. While plants respond to basic stimuli, they do not have a nervous system or sense organs to help them. Plants do not produce waste as animals do, which is why they do not have an excretory system. Instead, wastes like oxygen are released into the atmosphere through pores in the plant's surface.