With the Earth being 70% water, its surface is dominated by the colour blue. Alongside that is the intricately shaped land formations with the colours of brown and green. For these features, the rich and dark soil, as well as the leaves of different plants, are the ones responsible for providing more colour to the surface of the planet.
One of the greatest mysteries of the world is the importance of plants in supporting human life. Just think about this statement for a moment: without plants, it would be impossible to live. While the Earth looks plain green from space, you’ll be surprised to know that there are tons of different plants in various parts of the world. If you want to know what you like, read our list of different plants here!
Plants: A scientific matter
Everyone knows that people need oxygen to breathe, and only plants can produce that in exchange for carbon dioxide. With this said, it goes to show that humans or animals and plants have an interdependent relationship where one cannot survive without the other. Thinking about this gives you a good feeling since, in a way, you are an important being on the planet.
Aside from that, plants have other functions that keep people alive. These include medicinal herbs, food ingredients and clothing apparel. Different plant types accommodate each purpose, which gives you an idea that there are thousands of plant species out there.
The different kinds of plants and their characteristics
Before listing the different kinds of plants, you must first understand that these leafy organisms are divided into two. You have the plants without seeds or pteridophytes and bryophytes, and you also have those who can produce seeds, which are called gymnosperms or angiosperms.
Plants without seeds
When you go to the beach or any body of water, do you notice some floating green or brown plants? If your answer is yes, then those are algae, a group of phototropic, photosynthetic and nucleus-bearing organisms. They do not have true roots, stems and leaves, but all the qualities of plants are there.
Algae are usually the energy base of a food web for all aquatic organisms. This makes their existence important, and this plant kind is one of the first organisms that produced oxygen back in the day. Without them, there would not be a significant evolution of all eukaryotic organisms.
Another nonvascular and flowerless plant are the liverworts, which are small leafy plants that can grow from 2 to 20 millimetres wide. This plant thrives in moist damp places, so you would often come across them in tree barks or wet stones in a forest.
As of now, there are around 9,000 species of liverworts, and their bodies would consist of a thallus, which is a plant body that has a prostate, flattened, ribbon-like or branching structure.
Mosses are under the division Bryophyta with over 12,000 different species. They all thrive in damp places and would often grow on rocks, trees, soil and concrete. Having this said, mosses can almost grow anywhere, and they do not need soil to spawn!
In terms of appearance, mosses have a fluffy and stout texture that makes them appear like soft pillows. Moreover, touching them, in reality, will make your hand sink into their bodies! Aside from that, mosses are great to soak up rainfall and any moisture, which keeps the temperature around them humid.
Moving to vascular plants, ferns come as first on the list. These are seedless plants that distribute spores to reproduce. Moreover, ferns can grow tall and wide depending on how much nutrients they have been gathering from their roots. Also, they have green leafy foliage that consists of fronds and pinnae, and all leaves are spread throughout their stems.
Besides that, ferns are great indoor plants that require minimal maintenance and care. Not only that, but these plants also purify your home air quality through the process of phytoremediation. This means that the leaves of ferns absorb gasses, then the organisms living among the roots are the ones that break down the volatile organic compounds.
This category is further divided into two groups which are gymnosperms and angiosperms. The former consists of plants that have cones, while the latter have flowers.
In this category, you have two kinds of plants which are the cycads and conifers.
This plant kind thrives in tropical countries and has similarities with palm trees due to their woody trunks that produce green leaves. What is interesting about this plant is that it does not have branches that sprout out of its trunk. This means that the leaves emerge from the main trunk itself.
Aside from that, the seeds of cycads are protected since they are inside cone-like structures. To reproduce, beetles would nudge inside these cones and pollinate the seeds.
When you say conifer, it means green trees that are needle-shaped that produce cones as their seeds. The most perfect example of this kind is the pine tree, which has evergreen leaves with prickly endpoints. On top of that, this tree produces pine cones that drop from its branches now and then.
In terms of their habitat, conifers thrive in low climate regions, which explains the abundance of this plant kind in the Northern Hemisphere.
On the other hand, you have the angiosperms, which are vascular plants that produce seeds in flowers. Moreover, these plants need to go through pollination to reproduce. This happens when the pollen from the stamens is transferred to the pistil. Once the pollen sticks on the stigma, that is when the seeds begin to germinate.
For more information about these plants, you can access the article about flowering plants on the blog site of Coastal Tropicals.
Parts of plants
To further understand plants, you must learn their different parts as well as their functions. Here is a list for your reference:
Roots are the most important part of the plant because this is where nutrients enter its system. Aside from that, these are anchors that keep the plant firmly inside the soil. As the plant grows big, the roots also extend outwards and bend in different directions to find sources for minerals and nutrients.
Rising from the ground is the stem of the plant. At first, this part is weak and cannot stand upright, especially during the early stages of sprouting. But through time, stems become the toughest part of the plant. Aside from that, the stem serves as a travelling tunnel for water and nutrients to reach the leaves and other parts of the plants. Other than that, here are the different purposes of the stem:
- It provides support and bears all the weight of flowers, leaves and buds.
- The stem helps in transporting water and nutrients to other parts of the plant
- It also stores food, in case the plant was not able to receive any sustenance from the ground. These stored foods are known as starch.
Sprouting out of the stems and branches are the leaves, which contain chlorophyll. This substance is achieved through photosynthesis where the process of water, sunlight and carbon dioxide is processed throughout the plant. Through this process, the leaves can produce the green pigment that distinguishes them from other organisms.
Flowers are the most colourful part of the plant, and it is also responsible for reproduction. Moreover, it also has different parts known as the following:
- Petals – These are the part of the flower that holds the most colours, which attracts birds and insects
- Sepals – These are the green parts that hold all the petals of the flower and protect them from any damage.
- Stamens – This is the male reproductive organ of the flower, which consists of an anther and a filament. Additionally, this is where the birds and the bees gather pollen.
- Pistil – This is the female reproductive organ, which consists of a stigma, style and ovary. Moreover, this is where the pollen is dropped.
After some time, the flowers of a plant will transform into a fruit, which is a matured ovary that develops after fertilization. On the other hand, some plants do not need fertilization to produce fruits, and this process is known as parthenocarpy.
What would happen if there were no flowers?
Something as small and delicate as the flower holds a lot of responsibility in making the world into what it is today. Concerning this, a pop culture movie known as the Bee Movie shows the possibility when bees stop pollinating. It showed how the flowers and other plant species died in just a couple of months because there was no pollen being distributed. Consequently, the flowers affected the entire ecosystem of New York City.
With that in mind, you should always remember to take care of plants in general. After all, these living organisms are the ones giving people the air to breathe!