Plant and animal cells have several differences and similarities. For example, animal cells do not have a cell wall or chloroplasts but plant cells do. Animal cells are round and irregular in shape while plant cells have fixed, rectangular shapes.
Plant and animal cells are both eukaryotic cells, so they have several features in common, such as the presence of a cell membrane, and cell organelles, like the nucleus, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum.
|Animal Cell||Plant Cell|
|Cell wall||Absent||Present (formed of cellulose)|
|Shape||Round (irregular shape)||Rectangular (fixed shape)|
|Vacuole||One or more small vacuoles (much smaller than plant cells).||One, large central vacuole taking up 90% of cell volume.|
|Centrioles||Present in all animal cells||Only present in lower plant forms.|
|Chloroplast||Animal cells don't have chloroplasts.||Plant cells have chloroplasts because they make their own food.|
|Endoplasmic Reticulum (Smooth and Rough)||Present||Present|
|Plasma Membrane||Only cell membrane||Cell wall and a cell membrane|
|Flagella||May be found in some cells||May be found in some cells|
|Lysosomes||Lysosomes occur in cytoplasm.||Lysosomes usually not evident.|
|Cilia||Present||Most plant cells do not contain cilia.|
Plants are autotrophs; they produce energy from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis, for which they use cell organelles called chloroplasts. Animal cells do not have chloroplasts. In animal cells, energy is produced from food (glucose) via the process of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration occurs in mitochondria on animal cells, which are structurally somewhat analogous to chloroplasts, and also perform the function of producing energy. However, plant cells also contain mitochondria.
- Another difference between plant cells and animal cells is that animal cells are round whereas plant cells are rectangular.
- Further, all animal cells have centrioles whereas only some lower plant forms have centrioles in their cells.
Plant cells have a rigid cell wall that surrounds the cell membrane. Animal cells do not have a cell wall. When looking under a microscope, the cell wall is an easy way to distinguish plant cells.
Shape and size of vacuoles
Animal cells have one or more small vacuoles whereas plant cells have one large central vacuole that can take up to 90% of cell volume.
Difference in function of vacuoles
In plant cells, the function of vacuoles is to store water and maintain turgidity of the cell. Vacuoles in animal cells store water, ions and waste.
Pictures of plant and animal cells
Video Comparing Plant and Animal Cells
This video summarizes the differences between animal and plant cells:
For a more in-depth look at the differences between plant and animal cell organelles, see this video.