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Scots pine ( Pinus sylvestris )

As plants (Latin Plantae ) are creatures called, who can not move and photosynthesis operate. Fungi and bacteria , which used to be considered part of the plant kingdom, are now excluded. Different definitions of plants are currently in use, differing in whether or which groups of algae are ingested in addition to land plants ( embryophyta ). The branch of biology that, for historical reasons, deals with the study of plants including all algae and fungi is botany .

Concept history

The phylogeny of plants in a broad sense with the various groups mentioned in the text. Paraphyletic groups are marked in blue.

The term plant from Old High German plant has been borrowed as a foreign word in the 6th century from the Latin word planta for, sole, sole, Seedling '. It goes back to plantare in relation to treading the earth around a freshly planted seedling with the sole or foot. So originally “plants” were primarily the cultivated plants . In Latin, the expression vegetabilia was used for the plant kingdom , which can be traced back to the verbs vegere 'in power, bloom' and vegetar e 'enliven, excite' (etymologically related to the German wax ).

The first treatment of plants as a special category of natural beings can be found in the work of Aristotle . In his work De anima, he distinguished beings ( minerals , plants, animals and people ) according to the expression of their soul . A nourishing or vegetative soul, which is responsible for growth and reproduction , belongs to all living beings , including plants. Animals also have the ability to sense perception, an emotional life and the ability to actively move. His pupil and successor Theophrast , who is therefore known as the “father of botany”, made the first in-depth studies of plants .

The Aristotelian distinction between three kingdoms of nature (minerals, plants and animals) remained decisive for a long time. Even Linnaeus followed this division in his work Systema Naturae . In 1969 Robert Whittaker proposed that mushrooms should be separated from the plant kingdom as a separate kingdom , and this gradually took hold. Newer definitions of the plant kingdom differ in whether or which algae are counted among the plants. In the closest version of all algae are excluded and only the Embryophyta or terrestrial plants as a plant referred to which the seed plants , the ferns , the horsetails , the club mosses and the various groups of the Moose belong. Alternatively, some or all of the green algae are included ; other authors also include red algae and glaucophyta .

Features and meaning

The essential characteristic by which plants differ from animals and from fungi is the possession of chloroplasts and thus the photoautotrophic way of life. The latter means that they can obtain the energy necessary for life through photosynthesis ( phototrophy ) and that they do not need any organic food ( autotrophy ), but can instead form organic substances through the assimilation of carbon dioxide . The land plants (Embryophyta) contribute to about 50% of the photosynthetic primary production . 30% are accounted for by algae and autotrophic protists, for example among the dinoflagellates , 20% by prokaryotes such as cyanobacteria . The cyanobacteria (formerly called blue-green algae) have many similarities to the chloroplasts, and according to the generally accepted endosymbiotic theory , the latter emerged from cyanobacteria that were ingested as symbionts over a billion years ago . Since photosynthesis is the natural process by which oxygen is released, the above figures also indicate the relative contribution of the various phototrophic creatures to oxygen production. Heterotrophic organisms such as humans, animals and fungi ultimately obtain their food and the oxygen necessary for breathing from the autotrophic ones, with phytoplankton in particular at the beginning of the food chain in the sea .

For the meaning of plants for humans see useful plants and ornamental plants .

See also


  • Joachim W. Kadereit, Christian Körner, Benedikt Kost, Uwe Sonnewald: Strasburger Textbook of Plant Sciences. 37th edition. Springer Spectrum, Berlin / Heidelberg 2014.

Web links

Commons : Plants  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Identification book Plants of Central Europe  - learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Plant  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th edition. Edited by Walther Mitzka , De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 544.
  2. Georg Toepfer: Historical dictionary of biology. History and theory of basic biological concepts. Volume 3: Parasitism - Expediency. JB Metzeler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2011. ISBN 978-3-476-02319-3 . Entry Plant, pp. 11-33.
  3. ^ RH Whittaker: New concepts of kingdoms of organisms. In: Science , Vol. 163, 1969, pp. 150-160.
  4. ^ Sina M. Adl, AGB Simpson, CE Lane, J. Lukeš, D. Bass, SS Bowser, MW Brown, F. Burki, M. Dunthorn, V. Hampl, A. Heiss, M. Hoppenrath, E. Lara, L. le Gall, DH Lynn, H. McManus, EAD Mitchell, SE Mozley-Stanridge, LW Parfrey, J. Pawlowski, S. Rueckert, L. Shadwick, CL Schoch, A. Smirnov, FW Spiegel: The Revised Classification of Eukaryotes . In: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. Volume 59, 2012, pp. 429-514. (PDF ; 815 kB, online)
  5. ^ Joachim W. Kadereit, Christian Körner, Benedikt Kost, Uwe Sonnewald: Strasburger Textbook of Plant Sciences. 37th edition. Springer Spectrum, Berlin / Heidelberg 2014, p. 544 f.
  6. Jane Reece & al .: Campbell Biology. 10th edition. Pearson, Hallbergmoos 2016, p. 795.