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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).

This slide shows a side view of some of the cells associated with xylem and phloem tissue. The primary cell type associated with xylem tissue is the vessel_element.

The slide also shows the sieve_tube_elements of phloem tissue. The companion_cells that keep the sieve elements alive and functional are not clearly visible on this slide. Refer to Photo Atlas micrograph 73B to see the companion cells.