noun, plural: plants
(botany) Any organism that belongs to Kingdom Plantae, which is characterized by the following fundamental features:
- ability to make its own food by photosynthesis, i.e. capable of capturing energy via the green pigment (chlorophyll) inside the chloroplast, and of using carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars as food and oxygen as byproduct
- foods are stored in forms of sugars and starch.
- presence of rigid cell walls apart from the cell membrane.
- eukaryotic cells, i.e. the presence of a distinct nucleus surrounded by a membrane
- mostly are multicellular, i.e. made up of many cells organized to perform a specific function as a unit
- unlimited growth at meristems (when present).
- organs are specialized for anchorage, support, and photosynthesis (e.g. roots, stems, leaves, etc.)
- response to stimuli is rather slow due to the absence of sensory organs and nervous systems, as do animals
- limited movements due to a lack of organs for mobility, as do animals
- life cycle that involves both sporophytic and gametophytic phases (alternation of generation)
Plants are the major producers in an ecosystem, and they include trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae.
(1) To place (a seed or plant) in soil or other substrate in order that it may live and grow, such as to plant maize.
(2) To introduce (an organism) into an area.
(3) To place in an aquatic environment for spawning or cultivation, as in to plant oysters (aquaculture).
Word origin: from Latin planta, later influenced by French plante.
Related terms: short-day plant, long-day plant, vascular plant.
See also: fungi, algae.