Many are unaware that the plant kingdom isn’t made of only flowering plants alone due to the mammoth size of the division. Gymnosperm, the other division of the Kingdom Plantae, hasn’t gained the sort of popularity enjoyed by the angiosperm due to the smaller number of species under this division.
One of the things which have helped the increase of species in the flowering plant division is their adaptability. Over millions of years, every area of land has been dominated by this group of plants, and this wouldn’t change anytime soon. Flowering plants have the capacity to survive in some of the toughest conditions on this planet. The sea hasn’t been spared the presence of flowering plants as some members of the angiosperm division have the attributes required to function optimally on water.
Attributes of Flowering Plants
Regardless of man’s reckless and greed-fueled activities on the environment, flowering plants have continued to make their presence felt. And some of the things which have made this possible are their attributes. Below are some of these peculiar characteristics of flowering plants:
Like you might have guessed, flowering plants are known for producing flowers. This is mainly to ensure their perpetuation in the environment. Pollination and reproduction might not be possible without these flowers. Depending on the species, the flower might not be enchanting to the eyes. Flowering plants with beautiful flowers or those with enticing scents depend on the activities of insects and birds for reproduction to occur. Others with less conspicuous flowers depend on the wind or animals to bring about their reproduction. The occurrence of self – pollination is lower
Another characteristic of flowering plants that have ensured their survival over the years is the continuous practice of cross-pollination. Made possible by the covering of the carpel, cross-pollination ensures the new seeds get the best attributes of two different plants. And with this, there is a higher chance of diversity occurring.
Forms an Endosperm
One of the greatest characteristics responsible for the survival of flowering plants is the formation of the endosperm by the seed. This provides the young embryo with the nutritive requirements required to go beyond the zygote phase of development regardless of the environment the seed finds itself.
Developed Vascular Structure
Unlike gymnosperms, angiosperms have a well developed vascular structure. This has helped the plant division endure some of the harshest environmental conditions you can think of. With their xylem and phloem structures, flowering plants are able to absorb water and the necessary nutrients from the soil. The arrangement and presence of more vascular structures depend on the subdivision of the flowering plant which the species belongs to.
Sub-divisions of flowering plants
Flowering plants belong to the Kingdom Plantae, but they have other subdivisions that constitute them. There are five core groups of the angiosperm division, these include:ChloranthalesMonocotsCeratophyllumMagnoliidsEudicots
While some of the groups consist of as little as 6 and 77 species such as the Ceratophyllum and Chloranthales respectively, others like the Eudicots consist of more than l00, 000 species.
Many of these subdivisions have defining attributes that make them unique and ensure they survive in their habitat. For instance, species in Ceraptophyllum have no roots (being aquatic plants, this helps them survive the movement of the water).
Importance of Flowering Plants
Are flowering plants important? What are the benefits of so many angiosperms in the environment? Flowering plants are extremely vital and some of the outlines below should make this clearer:
- Agricultural impact
Flowering plants form the bulk of the plant kingdom. While discussions regarding the importance of agriculture might actually sound like a broken record, flowering plants are the cornerstone of that sector. There would be no agriculture without flowering plants. Pineapples, oranges, apple and other edible fruits you enjoy are most definitely angiosperms. Considering monocots and eudicots consists of more than 200, 000 species, it is a no-brainer.
- Powers the manufacturing sector
The manufacturing industry depends on both plants and animal materials for raw materials. Angiosperms are the major food source for animals and they form a large chunk of the plant kingdom; so invariably most manufacturing facilities rely a lot on angiosperms. Many raw materials have plant origins and when traced correctly, angiosperms are the likely source.
- Preserve the environment
While man continues to render the planet desolate with their pseudo economic activities, angiosperms revitalize the soil and purify the air through their photosynthetic actions. Humans are cutting down trees, polluting the environment with poisonous gases and increasing the possibility of climate change. Thankfully, flowering plants have remained resolute in ensuring humans don’t come unstuck from doing so many things which affect the environment negatively.
- Preserve our existence
As much as many would like to deny this, angiosperms ensure humans are not left extinct. Besides the food contribution angiosperms make, this group of plant forms the basis of most pharmaceutical products. While antibiotics might be made from microbes, other medications you take are produced using flowering plants.
The Success of AngiospermsWhile gymnosperms appear to be wallowing in the crowd, angiosperms have become one of the most successful groups of the plant kingdom. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. The secret of the success of angiosperms lies in their DNA. This group of plants is able to adapt and carry out all life processes with little or no help from their human neighbors. And it doesn’t end there. They are able to pass down these acquired traits regarding how to survive in their current environments to their offspring. Apparently, angiosperms have life all figured which is something considering they are plants.
While many are still locked on debating the subgroups within the Kingdom Plantae, the angiosperms are breaking bounds and righting the many wrongs of man’s activities on this planet. The gymnosperms can’t keep up. This explains the seismic amount of diversity seen in flowering plants. There is a lot of humans could learn from this group of plants, but will we?