What is a Plant?

Plants are producers and provide all the food and oxygen for animals on Earth.

A plant is a living organism. Plants grow in a permanent site, producing their own food by a chemical process called photosynthesis, using water, minerals (absorbed via their roots), carbon dioxide, and the energy of sunlight. As a by-product, they release life-giving oxygen into the air. Virtually all life on earth requires this oxygen made by plants.


Examples of the two main groups of plants are:-

  • Plants that produce seeds

    • Angiosperms – Flowering plants - these produce flowers, have an ovary from which seeds in fruits are produced. There are an estimated 352,000 species, such as rose, oak tree, poppy. There are two main groups of Angiosperms:-

      • Monocotyledons (or monocots)– with flower petals in groups of 3, eg grasses

      • Dicotyledons (or dicots) – with flower petals in groups of 4 or 5 eg sunflowers, trees. Most of the flowering species belong in this group

    • Gymnosperms  - Non-flowering plants - these produce seeds in cones without an ovary and are do not have flowers. There is an estimated 1000 species of these. For example - Trees such as conifers (pine trees) and cypress

  • Plants that produce spores, not seeds, such as:-

    • Ferns – have leaves, roots and stems with spores on the leaves

    • Mosses and Liverworts – no true leaves, roots or stems, but have root-like structures called rhizoids


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