So just what is a plant?
Well if you look in a dictionary you might see this definition:
a living thing that grows in earth, in water, or on other plants, usually has a stem, leaves, roots, and flowers, and produces seeds:
But is a plant more than that?
Do we need plants? Just what are plants for?
For one thing - plants give us the food we eat. No, not just the fruit and vegetables on you plate. Without plants the amimals we eat would not be alive.
Just think about cows and what they eat. Cows give us meat, cheese, milk, yogurt and much more. And they do all that by eating grass.
Where does our food come from?
Do you ever wonder what kind of journey the fruit and vegetables you eat every day have had? How do you think they get to the shops?
Are they grown on a farm near you?
You will be surprised just how far some of your favourite fruit and veg have travelled just to get to your local shops.
Bananas and other tropical fruit like pineapples are grown in tropical areas like Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.
Most tropical fruit available in British supermarkets are exported from Latin America and West Africa.
Grapes are a popular crop all over the world. There are more than 10,000 different varieties of grapes worldwide. Whole grapes that we eat fresh are called "table grapes." Grapes can also be dried to make raisins, preserved in jams and jellies, or crushed to make juice.
Italy produces the majority of the world's grapes, France and the United States aren't far behind. Spain, China, Turkey, Argentina, Iran, Chile and South Africa also produce grapes for export.
Melons originated in Northeastern Africa and the Middle East, but they gradually began to appear in Europe toward the end of the Western Roman Empire. Melons are known to have been grown by the ancient Egyptians.
Other major producers include Turkey, USA and Iran. Egypt and Mexico are also key producers of watermelon and Spain and Romania have significant areas of Cantaloupes.
Today, farmers in approximately 44 states in the United States grow watermelon commercially. Georgia, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona are the United States' largest watermelon producers. This now-common fruit is often large enough that groceries often sell half or quarter melons.
Orange is one of the top citrus fruit grown in most of the countries after banana and apple. The most common species of citrus are the mandarins, sweet orange, and lime.
Top producing countries are Brazil, United States, China, India, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, South Africa.
It's a big fancy word. It's how plants get energy.
They can do something that animals cannot do. They can get energy directly from the sun. All we get is sunburnt.
The word photosynthesis can be split into two words
photo - which means light
synthesis - which means putting together
What do plants need for Photosynthesis?
Well, plants need all of the following things for this magic to happen
carbon dioxide - this passes through small pores in the leaves. These pores are called stomata.
water - plants absorb water through their roots. This passes through vessils in the stem on its way to the leaves.
sunlight - this is absorbed by a green chemical in the leaves
Think you know everything there is to know about leaves? You may be surprised to learn the following facts:
Leaves require sunlight, water, chlorophyll and carbon dioxide to make food for themselves.
As winter approaches, leaves make a coating for themselves which blocks their water source; in the absence of water, the leaves no longer produce chlorophyll (chlorophyll is what makes leaves green).
When the leaves turn colours in the autumn, they actually are returning to their normal colors.
During the summer months, the chlorophyll present in the leaves causes the leaves to turn green, blocking the leaves' actual colours.
Along with chlorophyll, leaves contain two other chemicals that cause colouring. The first is called xanthophyll, which is yellow in color. The other is carotene, which is orange in color.
Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.
Once the leaves have turned brown, they are dead and no longer receive any nutrients.
The process of water transportation is the way water moves through a plant.
The roots absorb water from the soil.
The stem transports water to the leaves.
Water evaporates from the leaves.
This evaporation causes more water to be sucked up the stem.
The water is sucked up the stem like water being sucked up through a straw.
Scientists carry out investigations to find things out and answer questions.
There are lots of different ways to find things out, such as fair tests, comparative tests, exploring and observing, finding patterns or sorting and classifying.
You are going to carry out an investigation to find out whether temperature affects how fast the stem sucks up water.
The best type of investigation to use for this is a comparative test, as you can compare what happens to plants in different temperatures.
Testing Water transportation for yourself.
Flowers (carnations work well for this)
Pots or small glass jars
First, put a small amount of water in each glass.
Next, add a small amount of food colouring to each glass
After that, put one flower in each glass ( to make it a fair test make sure all the the flowers are cut to the same length).
Finally, make a note of the time. You will need to leave the flowers alone now and come back to check later.
You could try a further experiements to see if tempreture affects the water transportation.
Set up the experiment in the same way, but place the flowers in different parts of the room.
Make sure you do a fair test and record your results.
There is so much to find out about plants. Not only are there so many different kinds, there are so many different types.
Did you know that there are some plants that get their energy from eating meat?
Find out more about them. But be careful they don't eat you.