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Plants are placed into two simple kingdom subsections: nonvascular and vascular plants. The big distinction between the two groups is that vascular plants have vascular_tissues: tissues that conduct water and dissolved food in the plant body. The vascular tissues include xylem, which moves water and minerals upward through the plant and phloem, which moves dissolved food downward in the plant.

Nonvascular plants lack these tubes, and therefore must be small and thin so that each cell can acquire its needed materials via passive_transport from the plant's surface, or from other cells within the plant that are located near the surface.

Regardless of whether a plant is vascular or nonvascular, it has structures that (1) anchor it into the soil, (2) provide physical support for its photosynthetic structures, and (3) specialize in performing photosynthesis.

The Angiosperms (flowering plants) are divided into two design categories, based in part upon the placement of their vascular tissues. The two categories are monocotyledons (monocots) and dicotyledons (dicots).

The main distinction between monocot and dicot stems is the organization and placement of the vascular_bundles. In a monocot stem the vascular bundles are randomly placed, like pepperoni on a pizza. In a dicot stem the placement of the vascular bundles is more regular, like a ring of candles on a birthday cake. This slide will also show the epidermal and cortical layers. Ground_tissue is a generalized tissue category. It acts as filler and provides storage area.