Complex Tissue vs. Simple Tissue

What's the Difference?

Complex tissue and simple tissue are two types of tissues found in plants. Simple tissue is composed of only one type of cell, while complex tissue is made up of multiple types of cells. Simple tissue is responsible for basic functions such as photosynthesis, storage, and support. It is found in areas of the plant where growth is not occurring. On the other hand, complex tissue is involved in more specialized functions such as transport of water, nutrients, and sugars throughout the plant. It is found in areas of the plant where growth is actively taking place, such as the stems and roots. Overall, complex tissue is more structurally and functionally diverse compared to simple tissue.


AttributeComplex TissueSimple Tissue
DefinitionConsists of multiple cell types working together to perform specific functions.Composed of only one type of cell and performs a single function.
ExamplesEpithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue, nervous tissue.Simple squamous epithelium, adipose tissue, blood, bone.
Cell TypesMultiple cell types with specialized functions.Only one type of cell.
OrganizationHighly organized and structured.Less organized and less structured.
FunctionPerform complex functions and support the overall structure of an organism.Perform basic functions and provide structural support.
LocationFound in organs and systems throughout the body.Found in various locations, including epithelial linings and connective tissues.

Further Detail


Tissues are groups of cells that work together to perform specific functions in an organism. They can be broadly classified into two main types: complex tissue and simple tissue. While both types are essential for the proper functioning of organisms, they differ in their structure, composition, and functions. In this article, we will explore the attributes of complex tissue and simple tissue, highlighting their unique characteristics and roles.

Complex Tissue

Complex tissue is composed of different types of cells that are organized into distinct layers or regions. It is found in higher plants and animals, where it performs specialized functions. One of the most well-known examples of complex tissue in plants is the xylem and phloem, which are responsible for the transport of water, nutrients, and sugars throughout the plant. In animals, complex tissues can be found in organs such as the heart, liver, and lungs, where they contribute to the overall structure and function of these vital organs.

Structure and Composition

The structure of complex tissue is highly organized and consists of multiple cell types that work together. In plants, the xylem is composed of vessel elements, tracheids, fibers, and parenchyma cells. Vessel elements and tracheids are responsible for water and mineral transport, while fibers provide mechanical support. Parenchyma cells, on the other hand, are involved in storage and photosynthesis. In animals, complex tissues are made up of various cell types, including epithelial cells, muscle cells, nerve cells, and connective tissue cells. Each cell type has a specific function and contributes to the overall function of the tissue.


Complex tissues have diverse functions depending on their location and composition. In plants, the xylem transports water and minerals from the roots to the leaves, while the phloem transports sugars produced during photosynthesis to different parts of the plant. These tissues also provide mechanical support, allowing plants to grow upright and withstand external forces. In animals, complex tissues play crucial roles in organ function. For example, the cardiac muscle tissue in the heart contracts to pump blood, while the epithelial tissue lines the surfaces of organs and protects them from damage. Nerve tissue enables communication and coordination between different parts of the body, while connective tissue provides structural support and connects various organs and tissues.

Simple Tissue

Simple tissue, as the name suggests, is composed of a single type of cell. It is found in both plants and animals and serves various functions. In plants, simple tissues are primarily involved in photosynthesis, storage, and support. Examples of simple tissues in plants include parenchyma, collenchyma, and sclerenchyma. Parenchyma cells are responsible for photosynthesis and storage of nutrients, while collenchyma and sclerenchyma cells provide mechanical support to the plant.

Structure and Composition

Simple tissues consist of cells that are similar in structure and function. In plants, parenchyma cells are thin-walled and contain chloroplasts for photosynthesis. They have large central vacuoles that store water and nutrients. Collenchyma cells have thicker cell walls and provide flexible support to growing plant parts. Sclerenchyma cells, on the other hand, have thick, lignified cell walls that provide rigid support to mature plant parts. In animals, simple tissues include epithelial tissue, which covers the body surfaces and lines internal organs, and muscle tissue, which is responsible for movement.


Simple tissues have specific functions depending on their type and location. In plants, parenchyma cells perform photosynthesis and store nutrients, while collenchyma and sclerenchyma cells provide support to the plant. These tissues also play a role in wound healing and defense against pathogens. In animals, epithelial tissue acts as a protective barrier, preventing the entry of harmful substances and pathogens. It also facilitates the exchange of gases and nutrients. Muscle tissue enables movement and contraction, allowing animals to perform various activities. Simple tissues are essential for the basic functioning and survival of organisms.


Complex tissue and simple tissue are two distinct types of tissues found in plants and animals. Complex tissue consists of multiple cell types that work together to perform specialized functions, while simple tissue is composed of a single type of cell. Both types of tissues have unique structures, compositions, and functions that contribute to the overall functioning of organisms. Understanding the attributes of complex tissue and simple tissue is crucial for comprehending the complexity and diversity of living organisms.

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