The Plant Kingdom (or Plantae Kingdom) is made up of all the plants that you see each day. Most plants are multi-cellular, meaning that they consist of many cells. Different types of plants include trees, grass, flowers, and some types of algae. Plants use the light from the Sun to produce their own food. This allows them to grow almost anywhere, as long as there is enough water. Since animals are not able to make their own food, they must eat plants to give them energy. Therefore, the entire animal kingdom depends on the plant kingdom.
Plants within the Plant Kingdom are multicellular photoautotrophs. Photoautotrophs use photosynthesis to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into starches for energy.
Distinct Features of Plants
In order to be a plant, an organism has to have three defining features. The first feature is that the cells that make a the organism must have a cell wall. The only other kingdom that has organisms with cell walls is the the Fungi Kingdom. For instance, algae has no cell wall, thus it is not a plant.
Secondly, a plant must have a waxy layer on the outside skin. This waxy outer layer is known as the cuticle. The cuticle is what causes water to ball up and roll off of the plant. The purpose of this waxy outer-layer is to prevent the plant from losing too much moisture. Next time you touch a leaf, feel the texture. Does it feel waxy?
Thirdly, plants must make their own food (or energy). For this reason, plants are referred to as photoautotrophs. Plants contain a pigment called chlorophyll that helps with absorbing sunlight. They get their green color from the chlorophyll which is found inside of their cells. Plants use chlorophyll to collect energy from the light of the Sun. They then use this energy to create food. In this process, they create the food we eat and the oxygen we need to breathe.
Types of Plants in Plant Kingdom
Plants, like other organisms, have evolved over time. The first adaptation plants developed was a vascular system. This system allows water and sugar to move throughout the plant. Some of the first plants with vascular systems were ferns. Plants that exist with out a vascular system are bryophytes. Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are all bryophytes.
The next two adaptations plants developed were seeds and pollen. These adaptations increased plants’ ability to reproduce. There are two types of plants with these adaptations. They are either gymnosperms or angiosperms. Gymnosperm plants are cone-bearing, where as angiosperms plants are flower-bearing.
How Plants Contribute to Our Life
Other than providing us with a constant supply of oxygen and being a huge part of our diets, plants serve multiple purposes.
Our environment benefits from them in more than one way. Plants reduce the level of pollutants in our air, but they also help on a much deeper level (literally). The roots of plants help prevent mudslides when ground soil starts to loosen.
Plants are also used for medical purposes as well, like aloe vera. Have you ever had a painful sunburn and rubbed some cool green goop onto it. The goop is aloe vera and comes from an aloe vera plant. Plants’ leaves, roots, fruits, and flowers can all contain medicinal properties. Many of the medicinal properties are found in the oils of the plant.