Plant: A group of single or multicellular organisms that typically lack the ability of movement. Many plants are able to photosynthesize (convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds, mostly sugars, using the energy of the sun.) The majority of plants contain chlorophyll in their cells, a green pigment used in photosynthesis.
Plants are the most critical component of the biosphere — without plants no animal life would be possible, and the physical composition of the Earth's atmosphere depends on the constant production of oxygen and absorption of CO2, life-saving services provided by plants. They are a vital food source for many species (including humans), act as a water pump in the water cycle, and help to mitigate excess water, and soil loss.
Plant communities act as "carbon sinks", a vitally important function, especially in the light of the rising levels of atmospheric carbon which have been seen over the last 50 years, and has climate change implications. They are also an irreplaceable source of naturally occurring medicine — of the top 150 prescribed drugs in the US, 118 are from natural sources and of these over 70 percent are from plants.
Learn about a few of the plants we've discovered recently.
This woody vine is only the second new Malesian Hypserpa discovered in the last 100 years.
Known from only two collections, this species' genus was distinguished from another by DNA analysis.
A regrowth shrub in a genus with approximately 50 other species in New Guinea.