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How a Plant Works

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Plant Cell

Before you take on any sort of activity with plants it is important to learn how a plant functions. Plants are living organisms just like humans and have internal functions and basic physiological needs. There are basic rules of plant care that apply to all different plants. However, different species of plants can have slightly different needs. This page will give you basic information to care for your plants. Remember, if you have any questions you can post them in the forum.

What Makes A Plant Edit

Although the definition of plants has changed many times since the time of Aristotle, the general definition of plants is as follows: "living organisms that photosynthesize, have chlorophyll and cellulose."

Not A PlantEdit

  • Fungi (i.e. musrooms, mold)
  • Coral
  • Seaweed (i.e. kelp)
  • Bacteria

Parts of a Plant Edit

There are many different parts that make up any individual plant. The three main parts are the roots, leaves and stems. These parts are the most important to understand about your plants.

RootEdit

Main Article: Roots

The roots of a plant serve three important functions. The first of which is to anchor the plant to the ground. The second function is to take in nutrients and water for the plant to utilize in growing. The last function is to store the nutrients that have been taken up from the soil.

There are several things to remember about roots. The roots of a plant can grow much wider than the plant is tall. This is important to remember when planting your plants. Giving plants enough space to grow is significant in preventing competition and root girdling.

Also, roots, like the rest of a plant, need oxygen. Therefore, roots will generally grow no deeper than three to six inches, depending on the plant. This must be kept in mind when mulching or placing other objects on the surface of the soil.

LeafEdit

Main Article: Leaves

Leaves are the flat, veined organs of plants. Many plants do not have leaves that are not thin and flattened like those leaves that we commonly think of. Spines on a cactus, scales on a bulb and needles on coniferous trees are all considered leaves.

The leaf is the primary location of photosynthesis, where the plant converts sunlight into energy. The foliage of a plant is often an indication of the overall health of a plant and can be used to check for specific health issues.

StemEdit

A stem is one of the main structures of a plant. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes. The nodes hold buds which grow into one or more leaves, flowers, other stems etc. The internodes are the distances between the nodes.

Stems have four main functions which are:

  • Structural support for the plant
  • Transport of fluids
  • Storage of nutrients
  • Production of new tissue

Plant Terminology Edit

See: Plant Terminology

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