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Difference between C3 and C4 Plants (C3 Plants vs C4 Plants)

C3 plants: The plants exhibiting C3 pathway are called C3 plants. About 95% of the plants on earth are C3 plants.
C4 plants: The plants exhibiting  C4 pathway are called C4 plants. C4 plants live in hot moist or arid and nonsaline habitats. It occurs in grasses, sugar cane, maize, sorghum, Amarathus and Atriplex. C4 cycle is the alternate pathway of Calvin cycle (C3 cycle) taking place during dark phase of photosynthesis. In the C4 cycle the first stable compound is a 4 carbon compound, namely oxaloacetic acid. Hence it is called C4 cycle.  The C4 plants show  a specific type of leaf anatomy (Krans anatomy). C4 plants are more efficient in photosynthesis than the C3 plants.
C3 Plants vs C4 Plants
C3 plants
1. The leaves do not possess Krans Anatomy.
2. Chloroplasts do not have peripheral reticulum.
3. Chloroplasts are of one type (monomorphic).
4. Bundle sheath cells usually do not contain Chloroplasts.
5. In higher plants, operating C3 cycle, the chloroplasts are all granal and have both the photosystem I and II.
6. Mesophyll cells perform complete photosynthesis.
7. Perform photosynthesis only when stomata are open.
8. C3 plants are less efficient in photosynthesis.
Kranz anatomy
C4 plants
1. The leaves have Krans Anatomy.
2. Chloroplasts  have peripheral reticulum.
3. Chloroplasts are of types dimorphic).
4. Bundle sheath cells usually possess prominent Chloroplasts.
5. There are two types of chloroplasts, granal in mesophyll cells and agranal in bundle sheath cells. They lack photosystem II.
6. Mesophyll cells perform only initial fixation.
7. Perform photosynthesis even when stomata are closed.
8. C4 plants are more efficient in photosynthesis.

Learn more: Comparison of C3, C4 and CAM plants


  1. Nicely Described the Difference between both C3 and C4 leaves.

  2. What an amazing explanation

  3. Many thanks for your comparison... this is very useful for me and my study

  4. Best explantion ever :)

  5. Nice difference explanation thanks

  6. Quickest and the best difference one can get

  7. I am a teacher ... it is excellent explanation
    Mirza manzoor hussain

  8. very helpful explanation.

  9. good explanation

  10. Thank you very much. It was the best explanation and really helpful for me.

    with best wishes from IRAN. :)

  11. but u have to write more information

  12. Its very helpful... :') thnkew

  13. Easy and interesting

  14. tnzzzzzzz.........helpful article...

  15. Can anyone tell me why C4 plants are more efficient than C3 plants? In some books it says because they have more no. Of chloroplats and in some it says it's because or lower rate of photo respiration. Please help me.

    1. Add this ,that also prevent from photospiration
      And its saturation point is less than the C3

    2. Because c4 plants lack photorespiration,a wasteful process occours in C3 plants wasteful because it does not lead to synthesis of any ATP or NADPH instead it releases CO2,can drain 50% of carbon fixed by Calvin cycle that's why c3 plants are less efficient in photosynthesis ( formation of sugar)

  16. am a student very good comparison

  17. thankkkkkkkkkks so much for this

  18. thanks very much, really helping me a lot on my preparation for my test.

  19. thx it helped me with my classwork

  20. Pls give examples otherwise it's 2 gud


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