Plants are the basis of the food pyramid for all living things, even other
plants. They have always been very important to people, not only for
food, but also for clothing, weapons, tools, dyes, medicines, shelter and a
great many other purposes. Both humans and animals benefit from plants. We eat
many different types of plants such as fruits and vegetables. We also use plants
for our herbs. Plants are also used to manufacture many different products such
as shampoos, rubber, paper, and camera film. In some countries, fermented sugar
cane is used instead of gasoline. Animals use plants in many different ways
also. They eat many fruits and other plants. Many animals use plants for
shelter. Plants also provide animals with protection from predators. The
destruction of different plants sometimes leads to animals becoming endangered
or extinct. The basic structure of plants consists of roots, stem, leaves,
flower and/or fruit or seeds. A flower is the part of the plant that makes the
seeds. The main parts of a flower are the carpels and stamens. These parts are
often found in the center of the flower. There are egg cells in the carpel and
pollen cells in the stamen. All flowers have four basic parts: sepals, petals,
carpels, and stamen. Different flowers have different numbers and shapes of
these parts. Most plants can be divided into one of two general categories:
herbaceous or woody plants. Herbaceous plants have soft stems, while woody
plants are tree-like. Herbaceous plants produce completely new stems each year.

The approaching cold weather causes the new stems to die back to the ground.

Some herbaceous plants survive periods of cold by forming underground bulbs, or
tubers used for food storage. Many herbaceous plants complete their life cycles
within one growing season and the whole plant dies, even the roots. These
annuals produce seeds that will form new plants the next year.Land plants are
divided into two groups based on whether they have vascular tissues or not. All
nonvascular plants are placed in one division. There are nine divisions of
vascular plants. These are divided based on whether they form seeds or not.

Division Bryophyta – nonvascular plant S-Class – Musci – the mosses Division

Pterophyta – ferns, group of seedless plantsDivision Coniferophyta –
cone-forming seed plants Division Anthophyta – fruit-forming seed plants Class –

Monocotyledonae Class – Dicotyledonae Chapter 2ROOTSRoots help to anchor a plant
in the ground. . Plants generally conform to one of two root systems, a taproot
system or a fibrous root system. . When the plant is grown from cuttings, a
fibrous root system will form. Every root grows a mass of tiny hairs near its
tip to absorb water from the soil. These tiny hairs are called root hairs, and
they are made from cells. They take water to the main root. The main root brings
the water to the main plant. The roots also help hold the plant in the ground.

The inside of a root has four different parts. The epidermis is the outside
part. It is like our skin. It protects the inside parts of the root, like our
skin protects us. Plants take in water from the soil through their roots. The
water passes through the vascular rays until it reaches the center of the root,
the stele. This is where the veins are located. The veins are called xylem. They
carry the water and food through the plant. Between the epidermis and the stele
is the fleshy cortex. Land plants are divided into two groups based on whether
they have vascular tissues or not. All nonvascular plants are placed in one
division. There are nine divisions of vascular plants. These are divided based
on whether they form seeds or not. Stems support the plant. They transport
vitamins, minerals and water up and down inside the plant. They also serve as a
storage area for plants. There are several different types of stems such as,
woody, herbaceous, stolons, rhizomes, and bulbs. These are described below.

Herbaceous, non-woody, plants have vascular tissues arranged in bundles. These
vascular bundles are either scattered throughout the stem or found in a ring
toward the edge of the stem. The stems of herbaceous plants remain upright
because of the structure of the cells in the stem. The individual cells have
rigid walls. . In woody plants, the phloem is located in a ring near the stem
while the xylem is located more to the inside. The stem also takes on different
appearances depending on the season. Springwood cells occur when water is
plentiful. This is when wide xylem cells with thin walls are produced. During
dry weather, new xylem cells are smaller with thicker walls and it is called
summerwood. These changes produce a visible difference in the appearance of the
woody stem. Since one sequence of this occurs each year, the age of a tree can
be closely estimated by counting the “rings.” Heartwood occurs when
the xylem becomes clogged, it can no longer transport water and will take on a
dark color. This can be seen in the center of most trees. Sapwood is the
lighter-colored wood in a tree. Even if the cells are no longer living, they can
still function to transport water. An example of a woody plant would be an oak
tree. Rhizomes are grown from thickened, underground stems. Iris plants are
rhizomatous-type plants. They can get overcrowded after growing in the same spot
for a long time. When they don’t have enough space, there are fewer blooms.

After the flowers have bloomed, they need to be cut back to the remaining
healthy leaves in order for it to come back the next year. Then they are
replanted below the soil surface. Stolens are aboveground stems that grow
parallel to the soil surface. The strawberry plant reproduces itself asexually
by stolons, which are known as runners. Runner plants develop from axillary buds
on the crown of the mother plant under long-day photoperiodic conditions of
summer. When the days become shorter, the strawberry ceases to make runners and
develops flower buds for the following season. Soon after the daughter plant
reaches the soil, it develops vigorous roots (peg roots) that anchor it to the
soil. It can remain attached to the mother plant for a long time, but it usually
is capable of living independently within three to four weeks. A single mother
plant can produce up to 1000 daughter plants in a single season. Bulbs are like
“storage tanks”. They help a plant survive dormant periods when it is
too cold or hot for it to flower, and they nourish the plant during the growing
and flowering season. There are three major types of bulbs, including true
bulbs, such as hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips. Iris plants also have bulbs.

After the blooming season is over, bulbs can be left in the ground. Some will,
in time, spread out from their planting position and form new bulbs. This is
called “naturalizing.” After a few years, some of the bulbs need to be
dug up and divided to prevent overcrowding. Leaves are specialized for capturing
sunlight for photosynthesis. The blade of a leaf is attached to the stem by a
stalklike petiole. A simple leaf has one blade and one petiole. In compound
leaves, the blade is divided into leaflets on the same petiole. Animals inhale
oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Green plants are the only plants that produce
oxygen and make food, which is called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis means
“putting together with light.” This takes place in chloroplasts, which
have chlorophyll in them. Chlorophyll absorbs the sunlight. From sunlight, green
plants combine carbon dioxide and water to make sugar and oxygen. Green plants
use sugar to make starch, fats and proteins. These are tiny pores called
stomata. Stomata are plant spores, which enable gas exchanges to take, place,
and water to vapor to be lost. This has the benefit of moving water up the plane
in a process called transpiration. The pore and the guard cells make up a single
stoma. There may be as many as 6 million per typical leaf. The area just inside
the internal structure of the leaf and below the stoma is the air space, which
brings carbon dioxide very close to the palisade parenchyma tissue. Oxygen and
carbon dioxide enter and leave through the stomata. Plants also sleep at night
by closing their stomata. They cannot make food at this time. When green plants
absorb solar energy, they convert it to chemical energy. This chemical energy
aids in the growth and functions of the plant. When an organism eats the plant,
it gets energy to carry out its processes. Without solar energy, plants could
not grow, and life on earth would cease to exist. Chlorophyll, found in plants,
is used to trap solar energy. This solar energy is import for the separation of

H atoms from H2O. When water splits, H2 is released and built into ATP and

NADPH2. O2 is given off, as well, which aids in the respiration of living
organisms. The ATP and NADPH2 produced in the light phase is ready to be used
for the reduction of CO2 to form glucose in the dark phase. The chemical
equation for photosynthesis in green plants:light6CO2 + 12H2O =====รจ C6H12O6 +

6O2 + 6H20 All life on Earth depends on plants to provide good, shelter, and
oxygen for other living things. Plant reproduction is important to all other
life on this planet. The first step in plant reproduction is called pollination.

This occurs when pollen grains, the male germ cell of a plant, reach the stigma,
the female reproductive part of the same species of plant. Depending on the
plant species, a flower can produce male, female, or both structures.

Pollination can also occur within the same flower. Most flowering plants depend
on animals to make the vital pollen-grain delivery. The remaining flowering
plants rely on wind and sometimes splashing raindrops to ferry pollen, but this
is a less precise method. Pollinating animals do the job for a reward: food,
usually in the form of nectar. The female reproductive part of a flower is
receptive to pollen only at certain times of the year. Creatures like insects
and birds, which move from flower to flower in search of food, are a fast and
often guaranteed way for plants to distribute their pollen. Both the male and
the female reproductive parts of a plant are in the center of the flower. The
male, pollen-producing part is called the anther, held up by a stalk called a
filament. The entire male part is called a stamen. Teach pollen grain is unique
to its species. The female reproductive part of a plant, the stigma, sits on top
of a style, or stalk, which leads to an ovary at the base. A seed has everything
it needs to produce new plants. No seed can grow with the fruit around it. A
seed has to have enough water, good soil, and sunlight.


Wright, Alexandra. Will We Miss Them?. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge

Publishing, 1992. The Plants. New York, NY, Time Life Books, 1971Sunset