Thallophytes: Definition and Meaning of Thallophytes, Characteristics of Thallophytes

Glide to success with Doorsteptutor material for NEET : fully solved questions with step-by-step explanation- practice your way to success.

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

Division of Thallophyta

Loading image


  • 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

Lichen-Covered Tree

Loading image

Subdivision of Thallophytes

  • Metallophyte (myxomycetes)

  • Euthallophyta (bacteria, fungi, lichens, algae)