What plants can do for us?
There are many different kinds of plants. Some are so tiny, you cannot see them easily. Others, like the flowering plants in a garden, are bigger. The biggest plants are trees. All these plants are living things. They need food to live and to grow.
Where do plants get their food from?
Plants are very special living things. They can make their own food.
What do they use to make their food?
They use water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air. Plants can only make their food in the sunlight.
A plant makes its food in its leaves. In the sunshine, the water and carbon dioxide are combined in the green leaves, to make plant food. While this happens, the plant makes oxygen. This oxygen goes out into the air through the tiny holes on the leaves.
When you water a potted plant, the roots take up the water.
It is then carried by the stem to the leaves. The food made in the leaves is also carried through the stem to all parts of the plant.
When a potted plant was kept inside a closed box for some days what do you think would happen and why?
Without sunlight and water the plant would die.
Plants are the only living things that can make their own food. Plants use the food they make.
They need it to live and grow. Any extra food is stored away. Human beings and animals use this stored food. Plants store their food in fruits, seeds, stems and some parts that grow below the ground.
We eat the fruit of many plants. Many common vegetables are also fruits of plants. Some are eaten raw, but most are cooked before being eaten.
Name some of the fruits and vegetables.
Some of the fruits are apple, mango, grapes, banana, watermelon and orange. Some of the vegetables are spinach, potato, brinjal and lady’s finger.
Inside the fruit there are seeds. New plants grow from these seeds. We eat many kinds of seeds.
Some common seeds that we eat are:
Cereals: rice, wheat and maize.
Pulses: arhar dal, moong dal, chana and rajma.
Spices: zeera, mustard, dhania and black pepper.
Nuts: almonds, cashew nuts and walnuts.
We can find most of them in the kitchen at home.
Some plants like sugar cane store their food in their stems. Some plants store their food in parts that grow under the ground. Carrots, radishes and beetroots are some of them. We use these raw in salads. Sometimes we eat them as cooked vegetables.
Other underground plant parts that we eat are onions, garlic, ginger and potatoes.
What else does plant give us?
Plant seeds give us oil. Cooking oils are made from mustard seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut. Coconut oil is also used as hair oil and in shampoos.
Tea is made from the leaves of a tea bush. Coffee and cocoa are made from the beans of these plants. Chocolates are made from cocoa.
Tulsi leaves give us many medicines. Oil from the eucalyptus tree is used to clear up a stuffy nose. Neem leaves too are used as medicine. Mint is used for stomach problems.
We also know that cotton wool comes from a plant. Cotton is made into thread which we use for sewing and for making cloth. Cotton is also used to fill pillows, mattresses and quilts.
Wood is used to make houses and furniture. Rubber, paper and jute are other common things made from plants.
How do Plants Help Animals?
Plants provide food for animals. Many animals live on leaves and grass. These animals are called herbivores. Some animals eat other animals and they are called carnivores. Animals that eat both plants and animals are called omnivores.
Many animals make their homes in trees. Others live in the shade of plants. They may also hide themselves in the trees or in tall grass.