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As collective members of the ecosystem

As collective members of the ecosystem, we all come in contact with plants in our daily lives. Plants
form the most vital and most essential components of our environment. Plants, just like human beings,
are living organisms that require food, water, and sunlight to live. Moreover, like human beings, they
grow old and die, they are made up of cells and most importantly, they are equally reactive. Just like
human beings, their physical structure also consists of different parts. Each of those parts has a separate
function to fulfil. Without those parts, it would not be possible for a plant to live.
The above discussion is bound to give rise to an important question- Where do plants come from? The
answer to this question is seeds. Plants basically germinate from seeds by getting the right amount of
air, water, and sunlight. Another essential question about plants would be – What do plants need to
grow? At the very basic level, the answer would be the three most important components for any living
being to survive- air, water, and sunlight. However, the right proportion of each of the following
components is what drives the growth of plants. For example, when plants are planted in the soil with a
proper amount of exposure to sunlight, then only they can grow.
Any eukaryote belonging to the taxonomic kingdom Plantae is referred to as a plant. Plants are
embryophytes, which include vascular plants, liverworts, hornworts, and mosses in the strictest
meaning. Green algae were considered a plant in certain less strict references. Green algae include both
unicellular and multicellular species with chlorophylls and cell walls.
Plant Ecology
Plants can synthesize their own food by combining light energy, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and
hydrogen atoms. Nonetheless, the waste that animals exhale during breathing is one source of CO2.
They give off oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis in exchange. Animals, like other aerobic species,
require oxygen to survive. Other essential nutrients are obtained by plants from dissolving minerals in
the soil. They take them in through their roots. Calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium,
and sulfur are some of the key nutrients they get from the soil. Plants can absorb boron, chloride,
copper, iron, manganese, and molybdenum as micronutrients. As a result, the breakdown of dead plant
parts, or the entire plant, results in the return of vital minerals and chemicals to the Earth.
Different Parts of a Plant
Before we get into the details, first we must be aware of the similarities between plants and human
beings. As we have already established, plants are composed of various parts- a fact similar to human
beings who are also made up of different body parts. Just like each body part of a human being has a
different role to play, each part of a plant exhibits a unique role that stimulates the growth of plants.
Some of the most important parts of plants include roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds. A
detailed description of each of the parts of plants is mentioned below:
Image illustrating the parts of plants
Roots are the most important part of a plant as they are responsible for transferring the necessary
nutrients to the plant. They are the agents responsible for delivering water and minerals to the plants.
Besides that, they are also the active support system of plants without which the plants would fail to
stick to the soil. Moreover, they are also responsible for saving up food for later use for the plants.
Absorption of water and nutrients from the soil, appropriate anchorage of plant parts, storage of
reserve food material, and synthesis of plant growth regulators are the key tasks of the root system. The
root cap is a thimble-like structure that covers the root at its tip. It shields the root's fragile apex as it
travels through the soil. Carrot, turnip, and sweet potato adventitious roots are tapped, swelled, and
stored. Prop roots are the hanging structures that hold a banyan tree. Similarly, maize and sugarcane
stems have supporting roots that emerge from the lower nodes of the stem. Stilt roots are what they're
called. Many roots emerge from the ground and grow vertically upwards in some plants, such as
Rhizophora in swampy environments. Pneumatophores are roots that aid in the acquisition of oxygen
for breathing.
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Stems are also support systems for the plants. Their main function is to act as delivery agents for the
nutrients and water stored in the roots and transfer them to the other plant parts in the form of
glucose. Stems also transfer food from the leaves to the other parts of the plant. Potato, ginger,
turmeric, zaminkand, and colocasia underground stems have been engineered to store food. Aridclimate plants change their stems into flattened (Opuntia) or fleshy cylindrical (Euphorbia) forms. They
have chlorophyll and are capable of photosynthesis.
Some plants, such as grass and strawberry, stretch underground stems to new niches, and when older
sections die, new plants emerge.
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Leaves are a fundamental part of a plant as all the necessary food for the plants is stored in the leaves. A
special part about leaves is that they are designed for the process of photosynthesis which contributes
to the process of making food in the leaves. Shoot apical meristems give rise to leaves. At the node, the
leaf develops and bears a bud in its axil. Later on, the axillary bud develops into a branch. The leaf base,
petiole, and lamina are the three primary sections of a normal leaf. The petiole aids in keeping the blade
lit. Leaf-blades flap in the breeze, cooling the leaf and delivering fresh air to the surface, thanks to long
thin flexible petioles. The leaf blade, or lamina, is the extended green section of the leaf with veins and
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Flowers are known as the reproductive products of plants. They are mostly responsible for producing
fruits. The process is like this- the ovules present in the flowers get fertilized and produce fruit. They also
contain pollen which helps in the pollination of the flower. After the combined process of fertilization
and pollination, the ovules get transformed into fruit. Flowers offer an almost infinite variety of
combinations in terms of colour, size, form, and anatomical arrangement. The essential organs of
reproduction (stamens and pistils) and usually ancillary organs (sepals and petals) are carried on the
floral axis of each flower. The latter would function to both attract pollination insects and preserve the
vital organs.
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Fruits are the products of reproduction in plants. The most essential component from which
reproduction starts, that is the seed, is present in the fruit. Therefore, they act as a protective layer for
seeds. A fruit's primary role is to disperse seeds and allow the plant to reproduce. As a result, regardless
of whether the fruit is edible, sweet, or soft, all flowering plants produce fruit.
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Seeds are the main agents for reproduction. They can be found most commonly in fruits from where
they germinate and develop into new plants. Essentially, a seed is a microscopic underdeveloped plant
(the embryo) that is protected by a protective covering for its early development following germination,
either alone or in the presence of stored food (the testa). Seeds are ideally equipped to execute a wide
range of functions, the relationships between which are not always obvious: multiplication, perennation
(surviving stressful seasons such as winter), dormancy (a condition of halted development), and
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Parts of Plants and Their Functions
The Function of Roots:
Roots have the most crucial function of absorbing water and minerals from the soil. Another of their
most fundamental functions is to act as a support system for the plant so that it stands upright on the
ground. Other secondary functions of roots include storing food for future use and regulating the
growth of plants.
The Function of Stems:
The function of the stem is to produce fruit, flowers, and leaves. A primary function of the stem is to
provide a foundational structure and protection to the plant. Another notable function of the stem is to
aid in the vegetative reproduction of plants. Stems protect the plants from grazing animals by
transforming their axillary buds into thorns. In hot and humid areas like deserts, there are a few plants
whose stems are capable of transforming themselves into broad and pudgy structures. Such stems are
capable of storing a huge amount of food for future purposes and preventing the excess loss of water.
The most unique qualities of stems are as follows:
Support/Foundation: A vital function of the stem is to act as a medium to all the important parts of a
plant like buds, flowers, leaves, and fruits for the plant. They are the main foundational aspect of the
plant that makes it stand firm and erect in the soil.
Conveying and Hauling: One of the primary functions of the stem is to transport food materials and
nutrients that are stored in the roots to the remaining parts of the plant. They also transport the food
prepared by the leaves to the rest of the plant body.
Storehouse: Stems are the storehouse of food prepared by the leaves. Stems store the food prepared by
the leaves in the form of starch.
Procreation: Vegetative reproduction is one of the primary roles of a stem.
The Function of Leaves: Since plants contain chlorophyll, most of the food required by the plants is
prepared by them with the help of water, sunlight and carbon dioxide. The primary functions of leaves
are listed below:
Preparation of Food Through Photosynthesis:
The leaves of plants get their required air, water, and sunlight and prepare the food needed for plants
through the process of photosynthesis.
The process of transpiration is one of the fundamental functions of leaves.
in which excess water is removed from the plants through the stomata.
Transpiration is the process
Leaves sometimes play a role in reproduction as well. There are some particular leaves like Bryophyllum
that reproduce new leaves.
The function of seed
They aid in the germination of new plants. Food reservoirs in the form of cotyledons and endosperm are
found in the seeds. The embryo inside is protected by the seed coat, which is protective in nature.
Plants are vital components of the environment that require food to live just like human beings. A plant
is comprised of different parts where each part has a unique function to perform. The different parts of
a plant include roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits. Roots have the function of absorbing
water and minerals from the soil whereas the primary functions of stems are supporting, transporting,
storing, and reproducing. Leaves form a vital component of plants as food for plants is prepared in them.
Leaves are capable of performing photosynthesis and transpiration.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What are the four essential ingredients for plants to produce food?
Chlorophyll may employ carbon dioxide, water, nutrients, and sunshine energy to create food for the
plant. Photosynthesis is the name for this method. Plants emit oxygen into the atmosphere during the
photosynthesis process. Everyone, including humans and animals, requires oxygen to live.