Categories of Plants


 This topic gives you an overview;

  • Of the different categories of plants that we see around us.
    • Herbs
    • Plants
    • Trees 

Plants Around Us

When outside have you observed all plants around you? Do you see that some plants are small, some very big, while some are just patches of green on the soil? Some have green leaves, while some others have reddish ones. Some have huge red flowers, some have tiny blue ones, while some have none. We do see a variety of plants existing all around us - near our homes, in the school ground, on the way to the school, in the parks and gardens, isn’t it? Let us get to know the different parts of any plant. This will help us understand the differences between plants of different kinds. 

Herbs, Shrubs and Trees

When taking a close look at the stem and branches of plants you might have notices that some plants much smaller than you, some are about your size, and others are much taller than you.  You would have also noticed that the branches on some plants grow close to the ground or higher up on the stem. Have you tried to feel their stem and bend them gently to see if they are tender or hard? Try hugging tall plants to see how thick their stems are! 

Based on these charactersitics most plants can be classified into three categories: herbs, shrubs and trees.  


Plants with green and tender stems are called herbs. They are usually short and may not have many branches. 


Some plants have the stem branching out near the base. The stem is hard but not very thick. Such plants are called shrubs. 


Some plants are very tall and have hard and thick brown stem. The stems have branches in the upper part, much above the ground. Such plants are called trees. 

We will now group a few plants  to understand their characteristics. 

Plant name
Height Stem Branches
Category of plant
Green Tender Thick Hard Base of stem Higher up the stem
Tomato Shorter than you. Yes Yes No No No Yes Herb
Mango Taller than you. No No Yes Yes No Yes Tree
Lemon Taller than you. No No No Yes Yes No Shrub

Creepers and Climbers

There are some plants with weak stems that cannot stand upright and spread on the ground.  These are called creepers, while those that take support on neighbouring structures and climb up are called climbers. These are different from the herbs, shrubs and trees. 


  • Plants are usually grouped into herbs, shrubs and trees based on their height, stems and branches. 


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