What Is the Primary Difference Between Fungi and Plants?

primary-difference-between-fungi-plants Credit: Chauncey Davis/CC-BY 2.0

The main difference between fungi and plants is one of biological origin: fungi and plants have different DNA sequences and cell structures, and the DNA composition and cell format of fungi are more closely related to those of animals than plants. Fungi and plants share few traits beyond the inability to move. While plants make their own food using photosynthesis, fungi require external sources of nutrients and food particles to survive.

Like many animals, and in contrast to plants, fungi consume food by ingesting particles. They eat by producing enzymes, located just outside their bodies, which help to break down food particles into tiny micronutrients. Fungi then absorb the microscopic nutrients and minerals through their porous surfaces.

Like plants, there are many species of fungi, which come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes. While the plant kingdom consists of species that live on land and in the water, most fungi prefer to live on land.

Fungi have the ability to reproduce sexually, which involves the pairing of male and female organelles from separate plants. However, some contain both male and female reproductive organs within their single bodies, which allows them to reproduce asexually.

Fungi live in many locations, and generally withstand harsher conditions than plants. They thrive in cold places like Antarctica, as well as desert habitats.