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Plants are beings very different from us: the life cycle of plants works at a rate very different from ours, they cannot move by themselves and they do not share the characteristics of animals in general. For this reason and because we are animals, most of us find it much easier to empathize with an animal, even with those as far from us as insects, than with a plant. But plants live, and every day we learn more about how they do it.
If you want to learn more about what plants are and what is the role of plants in ecosystems, join us in this Green Ecologist article in which we clarify the doubt about why plants are living beings if they are so different from animals.
Are plants living beings?
We define as living being, in a simple and summarized way, to those capable of performing the functions of nutrition, relationship and reproduction, functioning by itself and maintaining its structural level until death comes. Here you can learn more about the Characteristics of living beings.
¿How we know that plants are living beings so? It is very simple: if nutrition, relationship and reproduction are the conditions to be considered living beings, we can verify that plants do the three vital functions.
- Plants use the water and nutrients available to them in the soil and air and produce their own food through photosynthesis, so they nourish themselves. In this other link we talk more about Plant Nutrition.
- Plants maintain complex supportive or competing relationships among themselves, as numerous studies have shown. They are able to fight for the terrain and protect other plants and even supply them with nutrients through their connections in the roots. Some plants are capable of attracting certain types of insects that prey on those that are attacking them, among many other defense systems, and attract pollinators for their reproduction. Therefore, we can say that they are related. To find out more, here you can read about How Plants Communicate.
- Plants can reproduce both sexually and asexually, expanding to colonize new territories while relying on genetic variability to adapt to changes or new environments. Thus, we can indicate that they also reproduce. Find out more about this vital function of plants by reading this other post on Plant Reproduction.
You can see more details about the vital functions of living beings in this other article.
In addition, it is common to ask the following question: Do plants feel pain? They have been shown not only to feel it, but to be able to react to it. Some new currents, such as that of the neurobiologist Stephano Mancuso, one of the current maximum authorities in plant neurobiology, maintain that plants are incredibly sensitive and intelligent living beings, capable of relating to the environment and anticipating its changes thanks to much more senses. tuned than those of animals. You can learn more about this topic in this other article: Do plants feel pain?
Knowing all this, we also encourage you to continue learning about what plants are exactly with this other Green Ecologist article.
These are the main characteristics of plants:
- The plants, belonging to the so-called Kingdom Plantae, are one of the three large groups of eukaryotes or multicellular organisms with cells composed of nucleus and mitochondria. A) Yes, plants are multicellular living beingsTherefore, we cannot consider unicellular microorganisms such as microalgae as such.
- What's more, plants are autotrophic living beings, which means that they are capable of creating organic matter from inorganic matter. This function is vital for the existence of our planet as we know it, since without this base of the food chain, none of the upper strata could exist. They manufacture organic matter from water, light and elements present in the soil and air through photosynthesis, a complex process that occurs in their chloroplasts thanks to chlorophylls, the green pigments they contain. Here you can learn more about what are autotrophic organisms, their characteristics and examples.
- Plant cells are also characterized by containing a cellulosic wall not present in animal cells, as well as by having molecules such as lignin, which enables the creation of rigid plant tissues.
- Plants are also fixed to the ground or other surfaces by means of their root system, which is one of the big three parts of the plants: roots, stem and leaves. Some also have flowers and fruits, although the latter parts are not present in all.
- They are basic in ecosystems such as producer organisms and they are the origin of all food chains both in water and on land. Our life thus depends entirely on them, not only for their supply of oxygen, but also as food and an indispensable ingredient of all kinds of resources, such as medicines.
What do plants need to live
Plants essentially need water and light to be able to grow and develop, but never forget the inorganic compounds which are equally vital to them. Without phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur, in addition to micronutrients such as iron, manganese or zinc, among others, plants cannot develop properly. They also need oxygen and carbon, because plants also breathe.
We recommend that you continue learning with this link to our article on What plants need to live.
One of the plant classifications The most common divides them into herbaceous, shrubby and arboreal.
- The herbaceous plants They tend to be small in size and are characterized by soft branches and stems, with a low lignin content. They are widely used for their wide range of properties both therapeutic and in the food industry.
- The shrubby plants, or shrubsThey have small, but woody trunks, and although they can grow much larger, it is usual that their height does not exceed one and a half or two meters. Its various trunks start from the same soil, at the base of the plant.
- The arboreal plants, or treesThey are easy to recognize because they have a single main trunk, from which their branches and leaves start. The trunk is woody and can reach very different sizes, from a few meters high to more than 100 registered in some.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why are plants living beingsWe recommend that you enter our Nature Curiosities category.