The Importance of Plants
The importance of plants in today’s society is immeasurable, and agriculture has played a primary role in the evolution of human civilization. The focus of modern cultivated plants can be broken down into three primary segments: agronomy, horticulture, and forestry.
Plants for Food and Beverages
Feeding the planet is not just about feeding human beings. Plants are the major source of nutrition for all the people and all the animals living on planet earth. Agriculture deals with planting, raising, nutrition, and harvest of all types of food crops. Plants also play a key role in the flavoring of many beverages. Large areas in many countries are dedicated to the cultivation of plants both for local consumption and for export around the world. Some of the plants being grown serve to feed livestock and some serve as food for human consumption, including vegetable, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains. Other plants are used to flavor beverages either by infusion (coffee or tea), fermentation (beer or wine), or distillation (whisky or rum).
Plants for Non Food Products
Plants are essential for many of the non food products that people need and use on a daily basis. Products made from plants include shampoo, soap, perfume, cosmetics, paint, rubber, latex, lubricants, plastics, inks, and gum. Plants are the source of many natural products like dyes, pigments, waxes, and resins. Even many renewable fuels including peat, firewood, and newer biofuels are derived from plants. Even petroleum and coal which are fossil fuels are derived from the remains of plants. Many of the products used for construction are plant based. Even many clothes made from plants like cotton. Plants are also a primary source of basic chemicals. Medicines derived from plants include aspirin and morphine. Certain plants contain psychotropic chemicals including tobacco and cannabis. Even poisons comes from plants.
Aesthetic Use of Plants
Plants are cultivated for many purposes. Some are grown for the aesthetic use of plants. Some of the most common uses of plants include: to provide shade, change temperatures, as wind breakers, for noise reduction, to provide privacy, and also to prevent soil erosion.Plants are also very popular and have a big following. There are societies and botanical gardens which millions of people join or visit each year. There are also historic gardens, rainforests, national parks, and flower festivals. Arboretums and botanical gardens are collections of living plants for the public to visit.
Private outdoor gardens in the back of homes, lawn grasses, shade trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous perennials and bedding plants are all aesthetic uses of plants. Landscaping can be done in design styles, from wild gardens, to sculpted gardens, or in topiary or espalier shapes. Gardening is the most popular leisure activity in the United States. Plants are also grown or kept indoors as houseplants. There are also specialized temperature controlled structures such as greenhouses that are designed for the care and cultivation of living plants in any weather. There is also a market for novelty plants. An example of such plants is the Venus Flytrap. Flower from plants are also popular as gift items or at take home bouquets. Floral designers or florists specialize in the art of flower arrangements using cut flowers and plants. Flower delivery is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Plants for Scientific
Biological research is an important segment within the scientific study of plants. Plants have been studied and cataloged for centuries and today genetics and breeding play an ever increasing and sometimes controversial role in development of new and improved plant varieties. Scientist try to understand what genes control the growth and development of plant structures. Increased productivity, the ability to withstand pest damage, and immunity to common plant diseases, are the primary focus of breeders and propagators.
Plants for Cultural Use
For thousands of years plants have figured prominently in mythology, religion and literature. Plants and flowers are in use as national and state emblems. There is even a list of state trees and state flowers for most countries. Plants have become increasingly representative of emotions.
Across the world, and across most cultures, flowering plants are used in funerals, memorials, and as a measure of sympathy. When it comes to gift giving and celebrations flowers are second to none. Plants and flowers are used as the symbol to mark special occasions such as births, weddings, anniversaries, and many holidays. Event decor is never without the use of flowers and there are plants in very shape, size, and color to make every occasion unique.
And when it comes to love, flower delivery in the form of floral arrangements, flower bouquets, or flowering plants will always be cupids first choice. Each flower has a meaning and they are often used to send hidden messages. Plant and flower delivery are an enormous industry and the power of the internet has only helped to make shopping for online flowers even more convenient. St. Valentine’s Day is great example of the power of flowers, and red roses in particular, and their cultural significance of plants on this particular holiday. Plants and flowers touch everyone and are part of life’s most inspiring and unforgettable moments.
Plants as a Consumer Product
Many plants produce large clusters of flowers that flaunt impossible to resist old-world charm, and demand for ornamental plants has always been a part of human culture. The consumer appetite is not just for flowering plants but also for foliage plants. Plants as a consumer product are a multi-billion dollar industry. Different types of plants can be found in florist shops, grocery stores, and garden nurseries. The three main consumer product types for plants are: cut flowers, greenhouse grown house plants, and landscape gardening plants. Learn more…
Negative Effects of Plants
Plants are not always beneficial especially when left unchecked. One of the biggest negative effects of plants are weeds. Weeds are an unwanted plant that was not intentionally cultivated but becomes invasive in a garden or farm. In other instances where people introduce non native varieties of plants they can quickly become invasive and overpower and displace the native species and in turn damaging the ecosystem. Invasive plants can damage crops.
Other plants may cause harm to people and to animals. Some plants produce wind blown pollen which triggers allergic reactions from people who suffer from hay fever. Many varieties of plants are also poisonous. Other can cause skin irritations such as poison ivy. Some plant varieties contain psychotropic chemicals, which when extracted, ingested, or smoked (tobacco, marijuana, cocaine) can cause damage to health and addiction. Some of these plants are illegal in many societies. People react differently to plants especially when they are ingested. Food intolerance from plant products in a major concern for today’s society and can have negative health effects on a parts of the population. One example is gluten intolerance. Many people attribute some of these intolerances to genetically modified crops such as wheat.
Planting Almanac. When to plant your garden. Planting by season by types of plants.
Plant. A plant is a living organism. Green Plants. Kingdom Plantae. Plants produce food, vegetables, flowers, foliage. Provide Oxygen. Root System.