Classification: Plants, Other Organisms

A century ago, botanists recognized four major groups of plants, but within 50 years these groups had been subdivided and rearranged into still further groupings. Table presents the old groupings of plants in considerable detail because some of the names persist as common names for modern plant groups, for example, thallophytes, gymnosperms, and monocots. By and large, the major groups (such as ferns, mosses, and flowering plants) are still recognized as units in today's more recent rearrangements but now appear with new technical names.

TABLE 1 Three Historical Classification Schemes of Organisms

2 summarizes three current ways. Note that the four eukaryote groups are retained as “kingdoms” in all of the classifications. 


3 gives an overview of the major groups usually studied in introductory plant biology courses. As always, your textbook is the best place to find pictures, more detailed information about plants and definitions of unfamiliar terms.