10 Interesting Facts About Plants
A person who is interested in growing plants might be interested in understanding what plants are. In this article, we will define some of the terminology used to describe plants and discuss how people use them.
Before delving into the world of plants, a good place to start might be to describe what a plant is. A plant is commonly defined as an organism that has a root system that draws water and/or minerals from the ground, using it in photosynthesis or growth. The other major component of a plant is usually its stem that helps deliver nutrients and water to various parts of the plant. Another major aspect present in most plants is its reproductive system, which can take many forms depending on the type of plant. Plants are a major and necessary component of the ecosystem because they are responsible for much of the food and oxygen that can be found on earth.
Plants are primarily classified based on their size. The main three categories include an herb, which is a plant that does not have any woody tissue; a dwarf tree or shrub, which is woody tissue that has grown around the base; and a tree, which is a woody plant with an erect trunk that usually has branches. A plant can also be classified by what type of stem it possesses. The major categories are: monocotyledons, which have a single leaf usually divided into a rosette shape; dicotyledons, which have two cotyledons or seed leaves; and gymnosperms, which have specialized seeds that require cold temperatures to germinate.
Plants can also be classified by where they live. A plant can be considered as being aquatic (lives in or near water), terrestrial (lives on land), epiphytic (lives on another plant), or Hemiepiphyte (lives on another plant but also draws some of its food from the air). Plants can also be described by how they are reproduced. A plant can be classified as being an annual (lives one season and then dies), biennial (lives two seasons and then dies), or perennial (survives over multiple seasons). A plant can also be classified based on its size. The three categories are a microorganism, which is any organism that is microscopic in size; a macrophage, which is any organism that has body parts greater than one millimeter long; and a megaphyte, which is any organism that has body parts greater than one centimeter in length.
Plants are also classified by the type of growth they exhibit. Plants can be classified as being a non-woody plant, which implies that the plant does not have any woody tissue; a succulent, which is a plant that has fleshy leaves and stems; and a cactus. A cactus is a type of succulent plant. Plants are also classified by what type of root system they possess. The major types are fibrous roots, which are like hairs that penetrate the soil; taproots, which grow very deep into the ground and have side branches; and a stolon, which is a type of stem that has adventitious buds.
An additional way to classify plants is based on the type of pollination they use. The main categories are self-pollinating plants (self-fertilize), cross-pollinating plants (transfer pollen between individuals of same species), outcrossing (receive gametes from outside parent plant), and obligately outcrossing (receive gametes from the outside parent plant, either through self-incompatibility or interspecific mating).
Some of the parts of a plant include roots, which are primarily used to draw water and minerals from the soil; a stem, which is a major organ that is usually composed of vascular tissue; branches or aerial stems, which are stems that grow above the ground; buds, which are outgrowths from the stem where new leaves can develop; leaves, which can be simple (not divided into leaflets) or compound (divided into leaflets); flowers, which produce seeds or fruits containing them; fruits or seeds, which can contain multiple seeds inside them; and bark.
Facts About Plants Part 1
85% of the world’s plant life is found in the ocean
The ocean is home to countless living organisms and plant life. The main reason why so many plants are found in the ocean is because the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide than any other ocean. Plants use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and convert it into oxygen. When an organism dies, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean where bacteria put all of its nutrients back into the water supply providing a food source for other organisms.
Another reason why so many plants are found in the ocean is that most plants have evolved to survive underwater. Many underwater plants have developed air bladders that they use to move around with and control their depth in the water. These air bladders allow them also to stay afloat during low tide.
Some plants are carnivorous, like the Venus flytrap, which uses its leaves to attract insects
Some plants are carnivores like the Venus Flytrap and eat tiny little insects and spiders to gain useful nutrients.
The Venus Flytrap is a very unique and elegant plant to look at. It has shiny, dark green leaves that are shaped like a cup. The inside of the leaves are covered with tiny hairs.
The Venus Flytrap has been around for over 400 million years. They grow in hot, humid environments and only open their leaves during the daytime even if it rains on them because they regulate their temperature by opening and closing their leaves when hot or cold weather comes.
At night when the Venus flytrap closes its leaves to stay warm, it is more susceptible to getting eaten by animals such as lizards, insects, and spiders because they are looking for food too.
The oldest of all living tree species is the Gingko Biloba, dating back as far as 250 million years
The name “Gingko” is thought to be derived from the Chinese words Jin (meaning: trust, believe and depend on) plus Gao (meaning: tall). The Biloba part of the name was given in 1771 to honour botanist Johann Siegesbeck because the leaflets resemble a double-headed eagle’s claw.
History & Traditional Uses
The gingko tree has been recorded as an ornamental garden tree in Japan since about 806 AD. The medicinal use of gingko dates back about 5,000 years ago when it was used as a cure for skin diseases, convulsions and neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion). The Japanese valued gingko for its beautifying as well as healing properties. They used the leaves to make umbrella-like shields and decorated their temples and homes with gingko leaves and seeds. The Chinese also used the leaf as decoration and believed that a decoction of the leaf could cure diseases related to blood flow.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet because it has a large root system and spreads very rapidly. A bamboo shoot comes out of the ground, grows up, reaches its full height, and then flowers and reproduces all in one year!
Bamboo also grows faster than most trees because it is a grass instead of a tree. A tree has a rough bark outside and a growing part inside. Bamboo has more fine hairs on it which helps it grow faster. Bamboo is classified as a grass, not as a tree.
Bamboo is also very strong for its size. It can grow as tall as 130 feet with diameters as small as 3/8″. It can easily be split into pieces three inches wide that are then used for scaffolding (the strange-looking bamboo sticks you see surrounding buildings).
Bamboo is as old as time, and there are more than 1300 species of bamboo on Earth. Bamboo has been used for more than 3000 years, covering a wide range of uses from the daily life to art and architecture.
Due to their fast growth, bamboo can be harvested three to four years after planting. 80% of bamboo is harvested from natural forests in tropical regions, while 20% comes from plantations.
There are a number of different ways that bamboo can be processed. The raw bamboo can be used in a number of ways such as paper, textiles, flooring and more.
The wood from bamboo is similar to teak wood. It has a beautiful reddish-yellow color and is denser than hardwood. Bamboo is an eco-friendly material that grows very quickly without the need for pesticides or fertilizers.
Bamboo is being put to use all across the world. It can be found in homes as furniture, such as tables and chairs. Bamboo can also be found in window shades, cabinets bookshelves, and many other household items.
You can find bamboo being used on more than just your home. You can find it being used in products such as purses, backpacks, clothes and shoes. Bamboo has also become a growing material for paper.
Bamboo is a great material. It is eco-friendly and comes from a renewable resource. It is beautiful, strong and durable. In the future we should see bamboo becoming more popular as people learn about all of its benefits.
The world’s tallest living plant is the coast redwood
The tallest living plant is the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), a tree that grows off the Pacific coast of California, USA. Redwoods have a lifespan of 2,000 years and can grow up to 100 m tall, although specimens that are around 500 years old can reach 45 m in height. A giant redwood named Hyperion is 115.61 m tall, highest branch to ground after 80 years of measurement in 2006 by Stephen Sillett and Brian Toppen of Humboldt State University in Arcata, California using GPS technology. The exact location of Hyperion has not been revealed.
Facts About Plants Part 2
Did you know that carrots were purple – not orange – in the 14th century?
When the first wild carrots were grown in Europe, they were purple or white. It was not until the 1500s that Dutch growers began cultivating orange carrots, possibly to honor William of Orange. But by the 1900s, a mutant strain with a gene for yellow pigment was discovered in Germany and quickly crossed the Atlantic.
Today, yellow and orange carrots dominate American grocery stores. But in Europe, purple carrots are making a comeback. In the last two decades, a small band of farmers has been working to bring back the heirloom vegetable. Their ranks are growing as consumers look for locally grown food with a more authentic taste.
The Amazon rainforest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen
The Amazon rainforest covers the largest portion of South America. It is the size of the U.S. and Mexico combined and, at 3.5 million square miles, it is twice as big as any other forest on Earth. The Amazon supplies 20% of all oxygen in our atmosphere.
The species and flora in the area are also diverse with over 1,500 species of birds living there. The animals that inhabit this area are endangered because of deforestation due to humans building roads and harvesting resources for money. One way to protect this ecosystem from humans who want to harvest its resources is to have people use less paper, not more, so there is no reason to cut down trees for paper production.
There are over 80,000 edible plant species on earth
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an international intergovernmental organization that is responsible for providing a forum for member countries in order to solve problems in food production and trade, 80,199 species of edible plants are currently being used around the world.
The FAO reveals that the total number of species of plants is currently around 350,000, so 80,199 is a lot less than one-quarter of all plant species on earth. However, for people who wish to eat healthier and get more nutrients from their diets, eating these 80,199 edible plants will offer almost as much variety as you could ever get from consuming 4 million different combinations of common vegetables.
Seventy thousand species of plants are utilized for medicine
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 70,000 plant species are utilized for the medicine. Of these, 6 to 13% (4,000 to 7,000 species) have known medicinal properties. The remaining plants possess properties whose medicinal application is not yet proven.
Part of this surfeit of pharmacological knowledge is due to the fact that plants provide source material for most drugs currently used in modern Western medicine. Initially, these drugs were developed to treat disease symptoms rather than its underlying cause(s), given that the human body was considered to be a “machine.” The focus was on isolating active principles from natural products and then synthesizing them in large quantities in the laboratory. Over time, synthetic drugs have been used to augment the effects of natural products and, in some cases, supplant them.
Recent research has shown a shift in perception toward the idea that plants provide not only medicinal substances but also a model for understanding how higher biological organisms function. This paradigm shift is epitomized by Dr. Erwin Chargaff’s statement: “The plant is not an organism whose structure we try to understand; it is an organism whose mechanisms we try to copy.”
Many plants from which drugs are derived contain complex mixtures of unknown organic compounds that have proven effective as medicines. Traditional healers often attribute their effectiveness to a unique spirit residing in the plant that acts upon the patient and makes him or her well.
The titan arum—which is known as the corpse flower because of its pungent smell—is the biggest unbranched flower in the world
The titan arum is a flowering plant of the Araceae family. Also called the corpse flower because of its unpleasant scent, it grows in the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra and Indonesia. It can grow up to 3 feet tall and has a very distinct appearance. The titan arum is characterized by its large size (the largest flower in the world), an enormous inflorescence at the top called a spadix, and a cluster of spathes surrounding the base called a spathe. Titan arums produce a very strong odor which arises from a chemical called dimethyl trisulfide. Of interest to scientists is the way in which the titan arum uses dimethyl trisulfide as a defense mechanism against insects and other animals. The titan arum is so large that it has made appearances in Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
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