The Scientific World of Plants and Their Uses
Botany is a particular branch of biology dedicated to the scientific study of plant life and the realm of its progress in our biosphere. This environmental science covers a wide range of methodical research regarding plants, algae, and fungi. Through this important discipline, humans have discovered new and fascinating facts about plant structure, growth, reproduction, metabolism, development, diseases, chemical properties, and the complex relationships between the various different groups of plant life and animal life. The origins of botany first began with the efforts of ancient civilizations trying to identify plants for edible and medical uses as well as usage for poison purposes (Wikipedia. par. 1). The employment of plants by early people for practical use makes botany one of the oldest recorded science practice in human history. From the early stages of plant utilization, the subject of botany has increased to include the study of over 550,000 species of living organisms in our known terrestrial world (Wikipedia. par. 1).
Unfortunately, our world has been affected by the advent of modern inventions and its byproduct in the form of toxic elements. These derivatives have affected the botany of our world as we know it today. Part of the main reason for modern botany is to determine cause and effect of an exaggerated introduction of certain contemporary products to specific plant life. Successful study of this subject matter will help in the prevention of a major catastrophic destruction and misuse of these organisms. With the proper and intelligent use of plants, we shall dig deeper into the minutiae of plants development and their appropriate application in our society.
Particular types of plant life prefer certain corresponding pH conditions to thrive. Some household plants prefer mildly acidic environments to exist. Plants that flourish in slightly acidic environments pick up nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, more easily from acidic soil. An example of this function can be found in coffee, which is a mildly acidic substance that can be used to "water" an indoor plant. Coffee grounds can causes some plants to flourish. However, some plants may yellow in color appearance and wilt when coffee is introduced to the soil. (Khaleelah E. Jones. par. 1) This determining factor really depends on the type of plant selected. On a more extreme side, some household plants prefer a much more acidic environment. Most of these plants grow naturally in a soil that contains limestone. Naturally these household plants will flourish when planted in this specific type of soil. Soil that is heavily clayed, such as those found in the Southeast part of the United States, are optimum for these basic soil-loving plants. Adding lime salts or an even 1:1 part mixture of milk residue (left over from an empty milk carton) and warm distilled water will add alkalinity to a soil.
Plants need a particular pH level to exist. Every plant requires alikeness with pH levels. Milk has the pH level of 6.5, making it an acidic liquid (What is the pH level of milk? par. 1). This white liquid would be an appropriate choice to shower certain plants because it contains protein, calcium, as well as Vitamin C within its properties. Coca-Cola or the brand better known simply as Coke has a pH level of 2.5 making it a very acidic drink in nature (What is the pH level of Coke? par. 1). Coke is so acidic that some automotive repair shops use it to clean battery connections. It can also eat the enamel from your teeth. Fortunately, Coke is mostly composed of water, making it an appropriate and notable choice to spray plants with. But of course, this is an expensive proposition to consider and logistically impractical. Another liquid in the form of lemon juice has the pH level of 2.3 (Jack Eden). This pH level makes this particular fluid a very acidic substance. This 2.3 pH level makes lemons sour in nature. One more liquid in the form of a chemical called bleach is usually used for garment whitening purposes. Regular bleach has a skyrocketing pH level of 11.5, making this solution extremely alkaline (What is the pH level of bleach? par. 1). It is also deadly to most animal life on this planet. The stain cleaning corrosiveness of bleach is also unsafe for skin contact. Bleach should never be used for showering plants because it is too caustic for most living entities. There are probably some unknown exotic plant that can survive an introduction of bleach to its root system.
Since most of the plant nutrients come from soil, the root system plays a very vital role in plant life development. The root system of a plant constantly provides the stems, leaves, seeds and flower with needed water and dissolved minerals. The roots in essence are the pipelines in for which plants absorb nutrients it needs to flourish. Roots must continually grow into new regions of a soil for a healthy propagation of its overall plant growth (Plant Roots. par. 2). A process called photosynthesis supports the growth and metabolism of the plant root system. This phenomenon occurs first within the leaves, with the help of light in most circumstances. The photosynthate from the leaf is transported to the phloem and through the root system, completing this vital process. There are many different kinds of root systems that exist with varying capacities to sprout. A particular type is called the taproot system. This structural system consist of one main root, with smaller branches of roots extending from the main focal root. Taproot systems are associated with sugar beets and carrots (Plant Roots. par. 2).
Capillary action is an important function for moving water within the plant system. It is specifically defined as the movement of water within the spaces of a porous material. H2o travels in all direction due to the forces of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension. Capillary action occurs because water in nature is sticky. Water molecules also stick to one another and to other substances, such as glass, cloth, organic tissues, and soil. A clear visible example of this action can be observed when a paper towel is dipped into a glass of water. The water will quickly "climb" onto the paper towel. In fact, it will continue to go up the towel until the pull of gravity is too much for it to continue (Science Buddies. par 5). Plants also use this mechanism to absorb water and nutrients from the ground and pull it upwards towards the stalks for their own valuable uses. Water and nutrients continue its journey and distribution throughout the plant's system for effective growth.
Transpiration is the loss of water conducted by plants through the stomata. Evaporation of water from the leafy portion is a result of a suction force, which pulls the water up from the xylem vessels and out through the stomata. Stomata's are openings usually found on the underside of a leaf that allows gases such as CO2 to be absorbed into the plant system. This suction force, due to transpiration, is the main dynamic energy that lifts water and dissolved mineral salts up the plant, beginning from the roots, and eventually into the leaves. During respiration energy is released by the implementation of sugar or glucose, by a series of chemical reactions. Glucose is broken down with the use of water into carbon dioxide to create life giving oxygen. Plant breathing, as a part of its respiration, is completely different from transpiration as it involves gaseous exchange from the atmospheric air.
This cycle is both beneficial for both man and plant because it produces oxygen for animal consumption, while plant like benefits from the gaseous absorption. Plants absorb deadly carbon monoxide from the air produced by cars and industrial plants. This incredible act of nature is a tremendous benefit for humans and to the larger extent of the animal kingdom. Without healthy plant development, the world that we know today will cease to exist. Botany ensures the continued co-existence of plant and animal alike for generations to come.
“Root Systems” 29 Jan. 2010 <http://facweb.furman.edu/~lthompson/bgy34/plantanatomy/plant_root.htm>.
“Why do some plants prefer like high ph conditions/ liquids?” January 29, 2010 <http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100107111327AA7MUBc>
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“What is the pH level of milk?” Jan. 29 2010 <http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_pH_for_milk&alreadyAsked=1&rtitle=Ph_value_of_milk
“What is the pH level of Coca Cola” Jan. 29 2010 <http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_pH_of_Coca_Cola>
“What is the pH level of Lemon Juice?” Jan. 29 2010 http://www.webanswers.com/science/chemistry/what-is-the-ph-level-of-lemon-juice-a572bf
“What is the pH level of bleach?” Jan. 29 2010 <http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_ph_level_of_bleach>
“Suck It Up: Cappilary Action of Water in Plants” Jan 29, 2010 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/PlantBio_p033.shtml>
“Difference Between Transpiration and Respiration” Jan. 29, 2010 <http://www.ehow.com/facts_5899311_difference-between-transpiration-re