Plant and Animal Cell Structure with Diagram

All living organisms are made up of cells. A cell is the structural and functional unit of life. If you examine plant and animal cells under a microscope you will note major structural differences between both cells. These differences in cell structure allow them to perform specific functions.

Structure of Plant and Animal Cells

Plant and animal cells are eukaryotic. Both types of cells contain cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, Endoplasmic reticulum, and ribosomes.

They are structurally different from each other due to the presence and absence of different components or organelles. Let’s look into the structure of plant and animal cells.

Structure of Plant cell

The identification of plant cells from the animal cell is very easy due to the difference in their appearance under the microscope. Some distinct features of plant cells are:

  1. A plant cell has a definite shape under the microscope due to the presence of a cell wall. The cell wall is the outer boundary of the plant cell and also protects the cell from any damage.
  2. It has a large vacuole to store the substances. It also aids cells in maintaining shape.
  3. The green color of plants is due to the presence of chloroplasts in plant cells. Chloroplasts contain green pigment and help in the photosynthesis process.
  4. The large vacuoles inside the plant cell push the nucleus to the side of the cell.
  5. Examples are parenchyma cells, sclerenchyma cells, collenchyma cells, phloem, and xylem.
structure of plant and animal cells
A plant cell diagram. Image created in

Structure of Animal cell

The animal cell is very simple in structure as compared to the plant cell. Some distinct features of plant cells are:

  1. Animal cells are irregular in shape under the microscope due to the absence of a cell wall. The cell membrane is the outer boundary of the animal cell. It also acts as a barrier between the inside and outside environments of the cell.
  2. A major portion of the cell contains a cytoplasm in which all the organelles are suspended. The cytoplasm is a jelly-like portion in which all the chemical reaction takes place.
  3. The animal cell has many small vacuoles that are distributed randomly inside the cytoplasm.
  4. The nucleus of an animal cell is present in the middle of the cell and controls all the cellular activities.
  5. An animal cell contains centrioles. These are present in the cytoplasm near the nucleus. Centrioles help in the cell division.
  6. Many lysosomes are present in the cytoplasm of the animal cell. They contain digestive enzymes and help in breaking down food and waste material.
  7. Examples of the animal cell are skin cells, blood cells, muscle cells, fat cells, stem cells, and nerve cells.
structure of animal cell
An animal cell diagram. Image created in

Some question and answer

Q1. What two components (organelles) are found in plant cells but not animal cells?
A. Chloroplast and cell wall.

Q2. Give two differences between plant and animal cells?
A. A plant cell has a cell wall and chloroplast, while the animal cell has lysosomes and centrioles.

Q3. What are the 5 parts of an animal cell?

A. The cell membrane, cytoplasm, mitochondria, ribosome, lysosomes, and centrioles.

The above mentioned basic structural difference in animal and plant cells will help you to identify animal and plant cells under a microscope.

Venn diagram

You can download the Venn diagram of prokaryotes and eukaryotes here.

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