Parts of Plants and What They Do

For gardeners and landscapers, winter is often a “downtime” that is devoted to planning and reading gardening books and poring through nursery catalogs.  So this post is educational – learn the basics about those plants that make up your garden, as well as those you’re considering adding next spring.  A unique garden provides a soothing and sometimes stimulating environment in which to spend your time. Each of those plants shares the same parts which are needed to survive.

The Roots
This part of the plant anchors the plant in one place, and draws nutrients as well as water from the soil. Many veggies we’re familiar with, like carrots, potatoes and radishes, are all roots. Many of them have high antioxidant and nutrient levels. Some roots, like ginger, have been used through the centuries in a medicinal as well as culinary capacity.

Stem
The stem is what carries nutrients from the roots to the leaves. It also anchors the leaves in place, since they grow off of the stem. The places from which the leaves sprout are called nodes. The tubes through which nutrients are carried are called the phloem and the xylem. Examples of stems that we eat on a regular basis are asparagus and celery.

The Leaves
Leaves have a few different jobs in the plant. The most well-known is converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. However, they also create glucose, which is used to help the plant grow. Many plants, like aloe and cacti store water in their leaves. Generally, however, most leaves are extremely thin and wide. This is what allows the plant to collect enough sun to photosynthesize the energy it needs to survive. Because leaves have so many nutrients, herbivores and humans alike benefit from eating them.

The Flowers
Most people plant gardens for the colorful flowers. Although flowers are extremely pleasing to the eye, their primary use is for reproduction. Through the act of pollination, plants are able to produce seeds to grow the next year or during the same season, depending on species. Since most plants rely on insects for pollination, different flowers attract different insects.

This basic understanding of how plants work is a good knowledge for any gardener to have.  Knowing their structure and function can help you better care for your landscape.  If you have questions about caring for or adding to your garden, please give us a call.