Plants, also called green plants (Viridiplantae in Latin), are living organisms of the kingdom Plantae including such multicellular groups as flowering plants, conifers, ferns and mosses, as well as, depending on definition, the green algae, but not red or brown seaweeds like kelp, nor fungi or bacteria.
Green plants have cell walls with cellulose and characteristically obtain most of their energy from sunlight via photosynthesis using chlorophyll contained in chloroplasts, which gives them their green color. Some plants are parasitic and may not produce normal amounts of chlorophyll or photosynthesize. Plants are also characterized by sexual reproduction, modular and indeterminate growth, and an alteration of generations, although asexual reproduction is common, and some plants bloom only once while others bear only one bloom.
Precise numbers are difficult to determine, but as of 2010, there are thought to be 300–315 thousand species of plants, of which the great majority, some 260–290 thousand, are seed plants (see the table below). Green plants provide most of the world's free oxygen and are the basis of most of the earth's ecologies, especially on land. Plants described as grains, fruits and vegetables form mankind's basic foodstuffs, and have been domesticated for millennia. Plants enrich our lives as flowers and ornaments. Until recently and in great variety they have served as the source of most of our medicines and drugs. Their scientific study is known as botany.
Famous quotes containing the word plant:
“Plant melons, harvest melons; plant beans, harvest beans.”
“It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be,
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.”
—Ben Jonson (15721637)
“The mode of clearing and planting is to fell the trees, and burn once what will burn, then cut them up into suitable lengths, roll into heaps, and burn again; then, with a hoe, plant potatoes where you can come at the ground between the stumps and charred logs; for a first crop the ashes suffice for manure, and no hoeing being necessary the first year. In the fall, cut, roll, and burn again, and so on, till the land is cleared; and soon it is ready for grain, and to be laid down.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)