As Chicago gardeners know, living things absorb food, adapt to the environment, grow and reproduce. Biology is the study of all life. This column will examine the plant kingdom.
The plant kingdom consists of producers, living organisms that produce food for other living things. Much of the animal kingdom of 1.2 million species depends on the plant kingdom of 290,000 species for food.
The plant kingdom consists of non-vascular and vascular species. Non-vascular plants have no tissue for the circulation of water and nutrients and require a moist environment. These primitive plants are small in size, common in the wild, reproduce by means of spores and have muted appearance. Some examples are mosses and liverworts. Vascular species have adaptable root and shoot systems, and either produce flowers or not. More than 250,000 species of vascular plants thrive in many environments. Some of these plants reproduce by means of spores, but most reproduce by means of seeds.
Seed-bearing plants have either naked seeds (gymnosperms) or covered seeds (angiosperms). The 550 species of gymnosperms may be partly enclosed by tissue from the parent plant. Some examples of gymnosperms are pines, spruces, cycads and ginkgos. Angiosperms are flowering plants that produce seed in a core (ovary) which is protected by fruit. An example of this core is the core of an apple or pear.
Angiosperms can be further divided into monocotyledons and dicotyledons according to their seed leaves of the plant’s flower. Monocotyledons have parallel veins. The sepals resemble the flower’s petals, and both are called tepals. Dicotyledons have veins extending from a network, and the petals differ from the sepals.
Plant species are the essential producers of food and necessary for life.
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