are a major group of life
forms and include familiar organisms
such as trees
, and green algae
. About 350,000 species
of plants, defined as seed plants
and fern allies
, are estimated to exist currently. As of 2004, some 287,655 species had been identified, of which 258,650 are flowering
and 15,000 bryophytes
. Green plants
, sometimes called metaphytes
, obtain most of their energy from sunlight
via a process called photosynthesis
Aristotle divided all living things between plants (which generally do not move), and animals (which often are mobile to catch their food). In Linnaeus' system, these became the Kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Metaphyta or Plantae) and Animalia (also called Metazoa). Since then, it has become clear that the Plantae as originally defined included several unrelated groups, and the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms. However, these are still often considered plants in many contexts, both technical and popular. Indeed, an attempt to perfectly match "plant" with a single taxon is problematic, because for most people the term plant is only vaguely related to the phylogenic concepts on which modern taxonomy and systematics are based.
The largest genera of flowering plants
include some 57 groups containing 500 or more described species
. Among these, the largest is currently the legume
(milk-vetches), with over 3,000 species. Other familiar large genera include the orchid genus Bulbophyllum
, with over 2,000 species, Euphorbia
(spurges), with more than 1,800 species, and Carex
(sedges), with slightly fewer species than Euphorbia
The sizes of plant genera vary widely from those containing a single species to genera containing thousands of species, and this disparity became clear early in the history of plant classification. The largest genus in Carl Linnaeus' seminal Species Plantarum was Euphorbia, with 56 species; Linnaeus believed that no genus should contain more than 100 species.
The introduction of infrageneric taxa (such as the subgenus, section and series) in the 19th century, by botanists including Augustin Pyrame de Candolle, allowed the retention of large genera that would otherwise have become unwieldy. E. J. H. Corner believed that studying large genera might enable greater insights into evolutionary biology, and he concentrated his efforts on large tropical genera such as Ficus (figs).
Pines are mostly monoecious, though a few species are sub-dioecious. The male cones are small, typically 1–5 cm long, falling as soon as they have shed their pollen. The larger female cones, such as this Monterey Pine cone, are typically 3–60 cm long, having numerous spirally arranged scales with two seeds on each fertile scale.
- Describe all families, genera and species of the kingdom Plantae.
- For species, describe botanical properties, distribution, multiplication, usage (medicine, food, etc.), botanical history, cultivation information.
- Develop and implement a robust method of naming plant article for the ease of navigation and searching for Wikipedia users.
- Maintain Category:Plants and its subcategories.
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sister projects provide more on this subject: