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Kingdom Plantae



Autumn Foliage
Click on image for full size (55K jpeg)
Image courtesy of Corel Photography
Kingdom Plantae contains nearly 300,000 different kinds of plants. Although this does not make it the largest kingdom, many might argue that it is the most important one.

In the process known as "photosynthesis ", plants use the energy of the Sun to make food and oxygen. This complex chemical reaction provides nearly all the oxygen in Earth's atmosphere and all the food required by living things. Although some protists and bacteria are capable of performing photosynthesis, plants do most of the photosynthesis on Earth.

The ancestors of plants first appeared in the seas nearly 700 million years ago. Another 265 million years passed before the first plants appeared on land. These early land plants looked very different than the plants you're familiar with today. In fact, many of them didn't even have roots, stems, or leaves! Since then, plants have taken on a variety of forms and are found in most places on Earth.

Kingdom Plantae



Autumn Foliage
Click on image for full size (55K jpeg)
Image courtesy of Corel Photography
Kingdom Plantae contains nearly 300,000 different species of plants. Although this does not make it the largest kingdom, many might argue that it just may be the most important one.

In the process known as "photosynthesis ", plants use the energy of the Sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into food (sugars) and oxygen. This single chemical reaction provides virtually all the oxygen in Earth's atmosphere and nearly all the food required by living things. Although some protists andIt is a complex chemical process by which plants and other autotrophs create the energy needed for biological life. bacteria are capable of performing photosynthesis, plants are responsible for most of the photosynthesis done on Earth.

The ancestors of modern plants evolved in the seas nearly 700 million years ago. Another 265 million years passed before the first plants appeared on land. These early land plants looked very different than the plants you're familiar with today. In fact, many of them lacked true roots, stems, and leaves - the very structures we tend to associate with plants in general! Since then, plants have taken on a variety of forms and are found in most places on Earth.

Kingdom Plantae



Autumn Foliage
Click on image for full size (55K jpeg)
Image courtesy of Corel Photography
Though not the largest kingdom, with a mere 300,000 species catalogued, many might argue that the Kingdom Plantae just may be the most important group of living organisms.

In the process known as "photosynthesis ", plants use the energy of the Sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into simple carbohydrates (sugars) and oxygen. This single chemical reaction is the ultimate source of virtually all the oxygen in Earth's atmo sphere and all the food energy required by living things. Several species of protists and bacteria are also capable of performing photosynthesis, but plants are responsible for the vast majority of it .

The ancestors of modern plants evolved in the seas nearly 700 million years ago. These primitive plants did not have many the structures we tend to associate with plants in general, such as roots, stems, and leaves. The evolution of these structures only occurred after plants appeared on land some 265 million years later. Many scientists believe that the evolution of these specialized structures and the wide variety of forms they can assume largely accounts for the success and diversity of land plants we see now.



Last modified July 7, 2004 by Lisa Gardiner.
The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/ at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). 1995-1999, 2000 The Regents of the University of Michigan; 2000-04 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. All Rights Reserved. Site policies and disclaimer