Plants As We See Them
Plants are all around us, renowned for their aesthetic appeal; their
colours and structures lend themselves to decoration. Plants are used
in celebrations and commiseration's and are often celebrated in their
own right- the annual Michigan potato festival being a good example.
Plants are associated with national identity. The Scottish thistle;
Irish Shamrock; Welsh leeks and daffodils. Many national flags feature
plants, the Cedar tree on the Lebanese flag, and the Maple leaf on the
Canadian flag. However all of these commendations can not begin to
celebrate the real importance of plants on planet earth. In this essay
I will explore the biological and physical importance of plants and
the issues surrounding them.
The Real Importance
For millions of years the chemical needs of the biosphere have run on
solar energy. Plants (along with some bacteria and green algae) are
autotrophs that have the ability to convert this solar energy into
chemical energy by a process called photosynthesis. This chemical
energy, stored in plants is the fuel that sustains life.
PHOTOSYNTHESIS: The Light Reaction.
Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of plants. There are two
stages; the light-dependant or light reaction and the
light-independent or dark reaction. In photosynthesis the light
reaction, for which the presence of chlorophyll (the green pigment
found in the chloroplasts) is essential, begins with the...
... middle of paper ...
...resent viewed as the big new
thing. For centuries people relied on plants and their various
properties to cure illness and maintain good health, until they were
shunned in favour of 'conventional medicine'
Plants are all around us. Medicinally we are turning to plants
(again!) to provide remedies for the stresses and strains of modern
living. Plants provide income and food. Yet few of us stop to consider
their real importance. Seen mainly as decorative organisms, not often
given credit for providing oxygen and food without which there would
be no life on earth. Genetic modification would appear to be a
positive step. Plants, as wonderful as they are, need to keep up with
the times; we demand more from our flora. Providing oxygen for us to
breathe and food for us to eat simply isn't enough anymore.
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