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What are Plants - Importance and Plant Cell Diagram

Plants may be defined as multicellular organisms with photosynthetic organelles. Unlike animals, they can produce their food in the presence of sunlight and carbon dioxide. They are the eukaryotic species belonging to the Kingdom Plantae.

Initially, when the classification of organisms was made, the fungi and algae were all grouped under the category of plants. As per the strict classification now, all the fungi and certain algae, along with prokaryotes like bacteria and archaea, are removed from the classification of plants. Therefore, according to the present classification, the Kingdom Plantae includes flowering species, gymnosperms, and green algae.

Where do plants obtain their energy?

Green plants primarily derive their energy from sunlight using which they manufacture food. Plants make carbohydrates from photosynthesis which is the major forms of energy for plants. The green pigment called the chloroplast synthesizes energy by endosymbiosis with cyanobacteria.

The chloroplast is a cell organelle that contains two primary pigments, which are chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b, which renders the ability to the plants to produce their nutrients. Certain plants have lost the ability to produce food because of the absence of chlorophyll. These are mainly myotropic or parasitic. However, they still bear fruits and buds.

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Kind of reproduction observed

Plants mainly produce new generations by means of sexual reproduction and alternation of generation, but asexual reproduction is also observed in certain kinds. The diversity in plants is massive, counting up to 320000 species, and about 260 to 290 of them produce seeds. The plants are the man in the source of oxygen in the atmosphere. They possess the ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis and release it into the air. The plants maintain the entire ecosystem, and thus, they are of such significant importance. Survival of other species would be impossible in the absence of plants due to the lack of oxygen in the air. Therefore, their presence is indispensable to the survival of other species.

You may also want to learn about Roots, Types of Roots and Functions of Roots

A brief discussion on the importance of plants-

Below discussed is the importance of plants and how they are beneficial to the planet-

  • Primary oxygen producer

    Plants are responsible for the production of oxygen in the atmosphere. They are the only species capable of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and providing it to the environment. In the absence of plants, life would come to an end on the planet.

  • Primary food producer

    Plants form the main component of the food chain. They are the only organism that is capable of producing food (glucose) with the help of sunlight and carbon dioxide. The plants come first in the food chain as they provide energy and resources of food to the succeeding species.

  • Provides primary food sources to humans

    Plants produce fruits, seeds, grains which humans consume. Cultivation and farming form the primary source of food for humans, which is crucial for survival.

  • Medicinal value of the plants

    It is to be noted that the plants provide medicines, and a lot of other pharmaceutical drugs are obtained from different parts of it. The experts have always studied the medicinal importance of plants like their barks and leaves, and the study of Ayurveda is pronounced.

  • Other importance

    Other uses of plants include for ornamental purposes when they are grown in the garden and lawn to beautify our houses. In addition, it provides the writing material or paper for us to note down records. Historians study the use of papyrus in ancient times for writing documents. It is also useful in providing building materials, construction of houses, and wooden furniture.

The branch of biology that deals with the study of the plant are known as Botany.

How does a plant cell look?

When we study the plant cells, there we shall notice significant differences between the plant cell and animal cell. It is covered by an outermost layer called the cell wall, which is absent in animal cells. The central vacuole is large and water-filled. It occupies the majority of space in the cell. Finally, there is the presence of chloroplast, which is absent in the animal cells. Chloroplast contains chlorophyll which is the photosynthetic pigment.

The cell wall is made of cellulose which provides rigidity and strength to the cell. Hemicellulose and pectin are other components of the cell wall. During cell division, there is a formation of the phragmoplast, which is the precursor of the cell plate. The cell plate marks the division of the cell in the phase called cytokinesis.

The plant cells differentiate into many kinds. For example, the meristematic tissues are actively dividing and produce other cell types.

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