Flowering plants are called angiosperms and make up about 90 percent of the Kingdom Plantae. They have adapted to every climate and can be found in practically every habitat of the earth. Angiosperms produce flowers and seed-bearing fruits and come in many shapes and sizes. Each plant is made up of several intricate parts. Each part of the plant has a specific function and all of the parts work together for the continuation of the species.
The parts of a flowering plant are characterized by two main systems: a root system and a shoot system. The root system, made up of the roots themselves, enables flowering plants to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. The roots also keep the plants anchored in the soil.
The shoot system includes flowering plant stems, flowers and leaves. These plant parts allow plants to reproduce and to obtain food through photosynthesis, which takes place in the leaves. The two systems are connected by vascular tissue.
The flower, the reproductive part of a plant, is divided into four main parts. The sepal is the green, leaf-like structure that protects the budding flower. The petal is the colorful, often scented portion of the flower that is attractive to insects. The stamen, consisting of a filament and an anther, produces pollen. The carpel is made up of the stigma, ovary and style.
The smell of flower petals attract insects and bees to pollinate the flower. After pollination, the petals fall off and seeds develop in the ovary. The ovary becomes the fruit of the plant.
Stems support and feed the upper parts of a plant. A system of tubes in the stem transports water and nutrients to the leaves and flowers. Food from the leaves travel down the stems through these same tubes to the roots of the plant. The stems also store food for the plant. Stems are usually upright and above the ground.
Some stems, however, are located below the ground or are at ground level.
Seeds are the means by which new plants grow and develop. The seed contains a tiny embryo of a plant as well as the food (endosperm) needed for the plant to germinate. Seeds must be dispersed in order for new plants to develop. This can happen by means of wind, water or animals. Plants are classified based upon the amount of seed leaves (cotyledons) in the seed.
Each part of the flowering plant has been used as a food source or for medicinal purposes. In most cases, the fruit of the plant is consumed. In other cases, such as the carrot and potato, the root of the plant is eaten. Edible parts of the broccoli plant include the flower buds, stem tissue as well as some of the leaves. The stem of the asparagus is eaten.
The leaves of the stevia and other plants have been used since ancient times in tinctures and teas. The flower (hibiscus) as well as the roots of some plants have been used as a dye in China and other countries. The seeds of many plants (wheat, corn, sunflower) have nutritional value and have also been used to make oil and soap.