Plants and Science

Basic Plant Science

There are some basic things one should know about plants.

1. Plants are living things that are made up of cells. They can grow, reproduce, and also produce their own food. They provide food, shelter, and oxygen, which are vital in the maintenance of life.
2. Plants beautify the surroundings.
3. Each plant requires different conditions in order to grow.
The factors that largely determine whether a plant will grow and thrive in an area are climate and soil.

The climate is largely governed by:

2. water
3. sunlight
4. soil

Temperature - The temperature affects some vital processes inside the plant like photosynthesis, respiration, absorption of water and mineral, and the germination of seeds. In very hot weather, the chlorophyll, which is the green coloring or pigment in the leaves may be destroyed; hence, the leaves turn brown. Plants require optimum temperature in order to grow. Temperature limits will allow plants to grow in limited length of time or with the aid of some provision like heat in case of very cold temperature.

Water - All parts of plants need water. An understanding of the water requirements of plants helps determine the amount of water which will be favorable for the growth of specific types of plants. Plants can be classified according to their, water requirements.  They are as follows:

1.       Hydrophytes - plants that require plenty of water.
Examples: water lily, lotus

2.        Xerophytes-plants that are highly resistant to dry surroundings like cactus

3.       Mesophytes - plants that need only an average amount of water
Examples: rose, squash, tomato

Sunlight -Light is necessary for photosynthesis and therefore, it is needed by green plants for the manufacture of food.

Soil - Serves as the medium for germination of seed, as anchorage for the root, and the source of water and plant nutrients. However, some plants thrive even without soil.
Examples: orchid, fern

Life Cycle of Plants

Plants are of different kinds. Some grow tall while others remain short. Others bear flowers and fruits and some may not even have flowers at all. Some plants have woody trunks while others have fibrous stems.

Plants may be classified according to their life cycle or the length of time they live.

1.       Annual- is a short-lived plant that completes its life cycle from seed to seed in a single growing season and then dies. Annual plants are mainly herbs and they develop very little woody tissue. Examples: corn, rice, tomatoes

2.       Biennial - is a plant that needs two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. During the first season, a biennial grows roots, a short stem, and leaves. On the second season, the new plant produces flowers, fruits, and seeds. Biennials die at the end of the second growing season. Examples: carrot, onion, cabbage
3.       Perennial - Is a plant that has an indefinite life period. It grows for several years producing a new crop of seed each year.
 Examples: mango, guava

Plant Propagation

Plant propagation is a means of increasing the fruit trees, and ornamental plants. production of vegetables, fruit trees, and ornamental plants.

There are ways of propagating plants, including seed production; leaf, stem, and root cuttings; marcotting: and cell or tissue culture.

Seeds- Sexual reproduction in plants involves the union of male and female sex cells, the formation of seeds, and the emergence of new individual plants.

Seed material for propagation should be properly selected from healthy and vigorous plants. The production of quality seeds or certified seeds requires scientific know-how and the application of technology.

How to Store Seed

1.Clean and select the seeds properly for age. Remove weeds, shells, leaves, and spoiled seeds.
2. Dry selected seeds properly.
3. Pack seeds in airtight bags.
4. Store seeds in a cool and dry place.
5. Keep the storage area free from rodents, birds, and insects.

Germination - Germinating seeds need boxes or pots to grow in. Good-quality seeds have a high percentage of germination, which means almost all the seeds will grow. 
An inoculant may be needed to facilitate the germination of some seeds like soybeans. Soil for germination should be selected. Some seeds require sterilized soil to insure vigorous growth and avoid plant disease.