Plant cells are larger than animal cells and have a more defined shape. Cell division proceeds by cleavage in animal cells, while plant cells form a cell plate during division. Other differences include the presence or absence of a cell wall, chloroplasts, a central vacuole, lysosomes and centrioles.
Both plant and animal cells have a flexible, permeable cell membrane but plant cells also possess a rigid cell wall made up of cellulose. This cell wall gives plants a more geometric shape than plant cells. Plant cells also have chloroplasts that enable them to undergo photosynthesis and plasmodesmata that enable the passage of various molecules between individual cells.
Nearly 90 percent of a plant cell consists of a central vacuole that absorbs and stores water. Animal cells also have vacuoles, but they are smaller and are dispersed throughout the cell. Lysosomes help animal cells break down large molecules but are not present in plant cells. Plant cells also typically do not contain the centrioles that play a key role in the division of animal cells.
Cytokinesis, or cell division, in animal cells happens as the cell pinches itself in half to create two new cells. The rigid wall of a plant cell prevents cleavage. Instead, a plate develops across the middle of the plant cell to separate a single cell into two new daughter cells.
Stem cells are animal cells capable of developing into any other type of cell. For most plants, nearly any cell is capable of differentiating into any other type of cell.