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Intro to Plants, Plant Structure, and Taxonomy. Why do we love plants? What makes them so special?

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Presentation on theme: "Intro to Plants, Plant Structure, and Taxonomy. Why do we love plants? What makes them so special?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Intro to Plants, Plant Structure, and Taxonomy

2 Why do we love plants? What makes them so special?

3 Pyrola asarifolia Plants are:  Beautiful  Unusual  Complex  Diverse  They feed us!  They are the lungs of the earth  They have charted the course of human settlement on earth (grasses).  They put a roof over our heads  Many have greatly impacted history

4 People and Plants We affect each other. – how? – We can’t live without them! – They exchange CO 2 for O 2 – mitigates greenhouse effect. – We destroy, pollute their habitat, causing extinction – They can destroy habitat, harming our economy – invasive plants!! – We can alter the course of their evolution, through: Gm crops, conservation genetics, selective breeding


6 Plants are sources of food. of paper. of fibers. of medicines.

7 Life without paper. sugar. vanilla. cinnamon. pepper.wood. cotton. linen. roses. chocolate. etcetera.

8 Remembering BIOL &211 - Unifying Characteristics of Life

9 Fig 6.9 1.Order — the smallest unit of life is the cell

10 2. Metabolism — synthesis and break down of molecules, producing energy to power life processes. All plant cells undergo cellular respiration (metabolism)

11 3. Responsiveness — perceive and react to their environment

12 4. Development — from simple to more complex organism

13 5. Heredity — genes are passed from parent to offspring Most plants reproduce sexually! With some unique twists…. Genes interacting with environment determine phenotype.

14 6. Evolution — populations change over time as they adapt

15 How can a plant grow legs? – review of key evolution terms 1. Genetic mutation – causes? 2. Natural selection: –Some mutations create adaptive traits: Increase a plant’s ability to survive/reproduce This plant reproduces more Increases the frequency of the novel allele in the population Over time…..carrot with legs!

16 Conceptualizing Plants Plants do not have purpose or decision making capacity. Cheatgrass keeps soil nitrogen high in order to out-compete native plants versus Cheatgrass turnover elevates soil nitrogen levels, preventing native plant establishment.

17 Systematics = the study of biological diversity in an evolutionary context, encompassing taxonomy and involving the reconstruction of phylogenetic history Systematics = taxonomy + phylogeny Phylogeny = the evolutionary history of a species or group of related species Taxonomy = the science of naming and classifying organisms Phylogeny & Systematics

18 Goals of Plant Taxonomy 1. Develop a natural system of classification, in which closely related organisms are classified together 2. Assigning names on the basis of evolutionary relationships.

19 Carolus Linnaeus Credited with the use of scientific names. A professor of natural history at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He was the primary professor for 180 students, many of whom became excellent botanists and world travelers.

20 He created a large number of genera and placed every species into one genus or another. Each species had both a genus name and a species name, the binomial system.

21 Domain Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species Taxonomy today still employs the hierarchical system of classification:

22 Levels of Taxonomic Categories DicotMonocot Domain Eukarya Eukarya KingdomPlantaePlantae PhylumAnthophytaAnthophyta ClassMagnoliopsidaLiliopsida OrderFabalesLiliales FamilyFabaceaeLiliaceae GenusLupinusHymenocaulis SpeciesLupinus texensisHymenocaulis carbaea Texas bluebonnetSpider lily

23 Genus species authority: Penstemon fruticosis (Pursh) Greene Or Penstemon fruticosis (Pursh) Greene

24 Hierarchical system of classification - classifies organisms into phylogenetic trees - branches on the tree represent the divergence of 2 species or groups from a common ancestor

25 Domain Bacteria Domain Archaea Kingdom Protista Kingdom Plantae Kingdom Fungi Kingdom Animalia Domain Eukarya




29 Evidence used to create phylogenetic trees: - fossils - comparative anatomy (problem – convergent evolution: some traits have evolved more than once) - DNA and amino acid sequencing: use the accumulation of differences in the base sequence of DNA to determine lines of heredity. In other words: 2 species with 10% of their DNA matching diverged from a common ancestor much earlier in time than 2 species that have 90% matching DNA

30 ** Problem: DNA evidence is forcing systematists to rearrange phylogenetic trees *** Particularly problematic in the plant world: - plants were placed into families and genera based on similar characteristics. - plants, especially grasses, have evolved similar structures many, many times! - Agropyron spicatum is now Pseuderoegneria spicatum - plants are renamed constantly. Check for current “official” names.

31 Identifying Plants Flowers are the main criteria for identifying species in this division.


33 The parts of a flower are typically attached to the: * receptacle – the portion of the pedicel upon which the flower parts are borne. * pedicel – the stalk of a single flower. It attaches the flower to the plant. Flower parts occur in whorls: 1. The outermost whorl is the calyx – a collective term for all of the sepals. Sepal – a typically green and leaf- like structure. 2. The next whorl is the corolla – a collective term for all of the petals. Petal – a typically colored or white, delicate structure. Petals function to attract pollinators.

34 Perianth = the calyx + the corolla The Perianth may be: 1. Regular = radially symmetrical 2. Irregular = bilaterally symmetrical 3. Polypetalous or distinct = petals aren’t fused to each other. 4. Gamopetalous = petals are fused to each other 5. Polysepalous = sepals are not fused 6. Gamosepalous = sepals are fused

35 The third whorl of flower parts is the androecium = collective term for the male flower parts. Each part is called a stamen. The stamen is composed of: 1. Filament – a stalk attached to the recepticle 2. Anther – a collection of pollen sacs that sits on top of the filament.

36 The innermost whorl of flower parts is the : gynoecium – a collective term for the female flower parts. Each part is called a pistil. Pistil = the female reproductive organ, consisting of: 1. Stigma – portion of the pistil receptive to pollen 2. Style – portion of the pistil connecting the ovary & stigma 3. Ovary – the base of the pistil, contains the ovules. (Mature ovules are seeds and mature ovary is the fruit)


38 An important trait that must be determined for identification purposes: ovary position 1. Superior ovary = hypogynous = the base of the perianth parts & stamens are attached directly to the receptacle 2. Inferior ovary = epigynous = the base of the perianth parts & stamens are attached to the ovary wall and they appear to arise from the top of the ovary.

39 More terms!!! Distinct = parts not fused Connate = fusion of like parts Adnate = fusion of unlike parts Complete flower = a flower that has a calyx, corolla, stamens and pistil Incomplete flower = lacks one of the whorls of flower parts Perfect flower = has stamens & pistils (bisexual) Imperfect flower = lacks either stamens or pistils (unisexual)

40 Basic plant parts

41 Leaves = the primary organs of photosynthesis. Leaf type and arrangement are important for identification. Petiole = the stalk that attaches the blade to the plant.

42 Leaf types: Simple leaf = undivided but may be lobed, serrated, cleft, etc. Compound leaf = divided into distinct units called leaflets

43 Four types of leaf arrangement : 1. Acaulescent – leaves arranged in a basal rosette, not attached to a stem. 2. Alternate – leaves borne single at each node along the stem 3. Opposite – leaves borne across from each other at the same node 4. Whorled – 3 or more leaves arising from the same node.


45 Inflorescence types: Inflorescence = the entire flowering part of a plant ** Page 176-177 of Harris 1. Spike = single sessile flowers on rachis (flowering stalk) 2. Raceme = single flowers on pedicels along the rachis 3. Panicle = a much-branched inflorescence 4. Solitary flower 5. Many more!!


47 Fruit types: Fruit = a ripened ovary and any other structures that are attached and ripen with it. * the primary function of a fruit is seed dispersal * pages 205-206 of Harris



50 1 down and 8 to go!!!!!

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