Thallophytes: Definition and Meaning of Thallophytes, Characteristics of Thallophytes (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Definition and Meaning

  • Thallophytes are a polyphyletic group of non-motile organisms.
  • Thallophytes are also known as Thallophyta or Thallobionta and traditionally described “thalloid plants.”
  • Thallophytes thus can be defined a division of the plant kingdom including primitive forms of plant life showing a simple plant body that includes unicellular to large algae, fungi, lichens.
  • A polyphyletic group can be defined as a set of organisms that have been grouped together but do not share an immediate common ancestor.
  • These include lichens, algae, fungus, bacteria, and slime mould and bryophytes.

Characteristics of Thallophytes

  • These are found in moist or wet places due to the absence of “true roots” and vascular tissue.
  • They are autotrophic in nature.
  • Though most of the members belonging to the group can manufacture their own food still a few like fungi depends on other sources of food.
  • Xylem and phloem are absent.

Division of Thallophyta

Division of Thallophyta


  • Those plants that are not well-differentiated body design fall in this group.
  • These are chlorophyll-bearing thalloid.
  • These are autotrophic and aquatic plants.
  • Variety of habitats include moist stones, soils, and wood.
  • The algae reproduce by vegetative, asexual, and sexual methods.
  • A moist and damp environment is formed by a sloth fur for the algae to flourish.
  • The sloth is provided with extra nutrition and camouflage from predators by the algae in return. For e. g. Spirogyra
  • Reproduction is Vegetative, Asexual and Sexual reproduction.


  • Fungi are achlorophyllous which means they do not produce chlorophyll.
  • Fungi also provide a safe environment to algae that shields the algae from UV rays.
  • Fungi may develop a symbiotic relationship with an alga or a cyanobacterium.
  • A fungus can be defined as any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds.
  • One of the examples where two organisms act as a single unit is Lichen.


  • A lichen can be defined as a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria.
  • Lichens have different colors, sizes, and forms and are sometimes plant-like.
  • They may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose) , flat leaf-like structures (foliose) , flakes that lie on the surface.
    • A microlichen is a lichen that is either bush-like or leafy.
Lichen-Covered Tree

Subdivision of Thallophytes

  • Metallophyte (myxomycetes)
  • Euthallophyta (bacteria, fungi, lichens, algae)

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