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319. Plants

See also 5. AGRICULTURE ; 54. BOTANY ; 167. FLOWERS ; 188. GRASSES ; 241. LEAVES ; 302. ORGANISMS ; 401. TREES .

an inability to accommodate to acid soils. Cf. basophobia. acidophobic, adj.
a parasitic relationship between plants that has a destructive effect on one and no effect on the other.
the tendency of some plants to grow in a direction away from the sun.
the tendency of some plants to grow away from the earth and the pull of gravity. apogeotropic, adj.
the cultivation of plants in nutrient solutions, usually for commercial purposes. Cf. hydroponics. aquapontic, adj.
hydroponics. aquicultural, adj.
the measurement of the swelling and shrinking of parts of plants. auxographic, adj.
basophobia, basiphobia
an inability to accommodate to alkaline soils. Cf. acidophobia. basophobic, basiphobic, adj.
the study of the physiological processes of plants and animals. biodynamic, biodynamical, adj.
the study of the relation between structure and function in plants and animals. biostatical, adj.
the animal or plant life of a particular region.
a form of divination involving the examination of plants.
the description of plants belonging to the genus Carex.
the study of sedges. caricologist, n.
cecidiology, cecidology
Biology. the study of galls produced on trees and plants by fungi, insects, or mites. cecidiologist, cecidologist, n.
1. a diseased condition of plants in which green parts lose their color or turn yellowish.
2. the process by which floral parts of a plant turn into leaves. Also chloranthy. See also 122. DISEASE and ILLNESS .
the cultivation of citrus fruits, as lemons, oranges, etc. citriculturist, n.
a technique for making apparent to the eye the successive stages of plant growth. crescographic, adj.
the procedures involved in adapting plants for growth under surf conditions. cumaphytic, adj.
the apparent preference of some plants, as orchids, to grow in or near trees. dendrophilous, adj.
the study of microscopic single-celled algae. desmidiologist, n.
the capacity or tendency of some plants to adopt a position transverse to the line of force of an external stimulus. diatropic, adj.
the condition, in some flowering plants, in which the pistils and stamens mature at different times, thus preventing self-pollination. dichogamous, adj.
the transplanting of a plant to a new environment.
a form of mutualism in which one plant lives on the surface of another, as moss on a tree. epiphyte, n.
1. the process of growing plants away from the light to make them white and crisp, especially in vegetable gardening.
2. the condition of the plants grown in this manner. See also 122. DISEASE and ILLNESS .
a knot growing on the stem or root of a plant. See also 52. BONES .
a mania for plants and flowers.
a substance that kills fungi or retards the growth of spores.
the ability of certain plants to grow normally in solis having a high mineral salt content. halophyte, n. halophytic, adj.
an attraction or adaptation to sunlight, as the sunflower. heliophile, n. heliophilic, heliophilous, adj.
a tendency of certain plants to move in response to sunlight.
the tendency in some plant species to turn or grow toward sunlight. heliotrope, n. heliotropic, adj.
a person who collects or deals in herbs, especially for medicinal purposes. See also 54. BOTANY .
Obsolete, a herbalist.
a substance for destroying plants, especially weeds or other unwanted species; a weed-killer. herbicidal, adj.
abnormal development, especially increased size, in plants or animals, usually as a result of cross-breeding.
the ability of certain plants to grow naturally in water or in highly moist soils. hydrophyte, n. hydrophytic, adj.
the science of growing plants in specially prepared solutions instead of in soil. Cf. aquapontics. hydroponic, adj.
excessive growth of one part of a plant to the disadvantage or detriment of the plant as a whole. See also 51. BODY, HUMAN ; 368. SIZE . hypertrophic, hypertrophical, hypertrophous, adj.
an increase in growth in a lower part of a plant causing it to bend upward. hyponastic, adj.
Obsolete, any procedure for raising plants under other than natural conditions of growth.
the ability of certain plants to grow naturally in moderate but constant moisture. mesophyte, n. mesophytic, adj.
the worship of fungi, especially mushrooms.
the branch of horticulture that specializes in the cultivation of edible plants. olericultural, adj.
the capacity of some plants to thrive in the midst of copious rain. Also called hydrophily . ombrophilic, ombrophilous, adj.
a relationship between plants in which one gains sustenance from the other. See also 16. ANIMALS ; 44. BIOLOGY .
the state of having the pistils, stamens, petals, etc., arranged around a cuplike receptacle. perigynous, adj.
any chemical substance used for killing pests, as insects, weeds, etc.
Rare. a lover of plants.
the science or study of light in relation to the movement of plants. photodynamic, photodynamical, adj.
the tendency in certain plant species to respond to light by developing sufficient cellular force or growth on one side of an axis to change the form or position of the axis, as in the opening and closing of the flowers of four-oclocks. Cf. thermonasty. photonastic . adj.
the study of the relative amounts of light and darkness in a 24-hour period required to best effect the growth, reproduction, and flowering of plant species or the growth and reproduction of animals. Also photoperiodicity . Cf. thermoperiodism . photoperiodic, photoperiodical, adj.
photophilia, photophily
the necessity, in some plant species, for exposure to strong light. photophile, photophilic, photophilous, adj.
the synthesis of complex organic substances from carbon dioxide, water, and inorganic salts, with sunlight as the energy source and a catalyst such as chlorophyll. photosynthetic, adj.
motion in response to light, either toward it or away from it, as manifested by certain plants. phototropic, adj.
phytogenesis, phytogeny
the origin and evolution of plants. phytogenetic, phytogenetical, phytogenic, adj.
the identification, classification, and study of plant viruses. phytoserologist, n. phytoserologic, phytoserological, adj.
the tendency of some plants to diverge from the vertical in their growth. plagiotropic, adj.
the tendency of some plants to respond to a current of water by growing with it (positive rheotaxis) or against it (negative rheotaxis).
the ability of certain plants to live in dead or decaying organic matter. saprophyte, n. saprophytic, n., adj.
the hardening of the cell wall of a plant, as by the formation of wood. See also 51. BODY, HUMAN . sclerotic, adj.
selective breeding to develop strains with particular characteristics. stirpicultural, adj.
the art of divination by inspection of figs or flg leaves.
the tendency in certain plant species to respond to temperature changes by developing a sufficient cellular force or growth on one side of an axis to change the form or position of the axis, as in the closing or folding of rhododendron leaves in cold air. Cf. photonasty. thermonastic, adj.
the study of the relative day and night temperatures required, in a 24-hour period, to achieve the best growth, reproduction, or flowering of plant species or the growth and reproduction of animals. Also thermoperiodicity. Cf. photoperiodism . thermoperiodic, thermoperiodical, adj.
the tendency in some plant species to turn toward or away from a source of heat. thermotropic, thermotropical, adj.
cross-fertilization in plants or flowers.
xerophilia, xerophily
the ability of some plants to survive in dosert or salt marsh areas by storing fresh water internally. xerophilic, xerophilous, adj.
the natural adaptation of plants living under desert or marsh conditions to store water internally. xerophyte, n. xerophytic, adj.

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Plants are photosynthetic multicellular eukaryotes, well-separated evolutionarily from photosynthetic prokaryotes such as the cyanobacteria . Three lineages of photosynthetic eukaryotes are recognized: 1) green plants and green algae, with chlorophylls a and b and with carotenoids , including beta-carotene, as accessory pigments ; 2) red algae, having chlorophylls a and d, with phycobilins as accessory pigments; and 3) brown algae, golden algae, and diatoms , with chlorophylls a and c and accessory pigments that include fucoxanthin.

Plants are differentiated from algae based on their exclusive multicellularity and their adaption to life on land. However, these two groups are so closely related that defining their differences is often harder than identifying their similarities. Fungi, often considered to be plantlike and historically classified with plants, are not close relatives of plants; rather, they appear to be closely related to animals, based on numerous molecular and biochemical features. Fossil evidence indicates that plants first invaded the land approximately 450 million years ago. The major groups of living land plants are liverworts, hornworts, and mosses (collectively termed bryophytes); lycophytes, ferns, and horsetails (collectively pteridophytes); and five lineages of seed plants: cycads, Ginkgo, gnetophytes, conifers (gymnosperms), and flowering plants (angiosperms).

see also Algae; Anatomy of Plants; Angiosperms; Bryophytes; Endosymbiosis; Fungi; Gymnosperms; Pigments.

Doug Soltis

Pam Soltis


Raven, Peter H., Ray F. Evert, and Susan E. Eichhorn. Biology of Plants, 6th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1999.

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