What Do Fungi Have in Common With Plants?

Fungi and plants both contain cells with nuclei and membrane-bound organelles, which differentiates them from bacteria. They both have cells surrounded by cell walls, which differentiates them from animals. They are both stationary organisms that do not move.

Fungi and some primitive species of plants have reproductive similarities, as well. All fungi utilize spores to reproduce, while more advanced plant species use pollen and seeds to reproduce. Algae and ferns are the most common plant species to release spores.

Fungi and plants have only been classified as separate kingdoms since 1969, and both kingdoms are studied as part of botany. Despite this close classification, fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants. While plants and fungi share structural similarities, fungi and animals are descended from a closer common ancestor than either shares with plants.

The primary difference between plants and fungi is how they obtain energy. Plants are autotrophs, or organisms that do not consume plants or other animals for sustenance; they use photosynthesis to turn sunlight into chemical energy. Fungi are heterotrophs, or organisms that obtain energy from other organisms. Fungi release digestive enzymes that break down their food into nutrients that can be absorbed; they use these enzymes to consume plants, animals and other fungi.