Chapter 16: Plant Biology


This lush green landscape is thickly carpeted with trees and myriad of other plants. Much of Earth’s land is dominated by plants. Yet compared to our active existence as animals, plants are—literally—rooted to the ground. Their sedentary lives may seem less interesting than the active lives of animals, but plants are very busy doing extremely important work. All plants are chemical factories. Each year, they transform huge amounts of carbon (from carbon dioxide) into food for themselves and virtually all other land organisms.

Plants are complex organisms that carry out complex tasks. But unlike animals, they don’t have nerves, bones, or muscles to do their work. How do plants do it? Read on to find out.

Chapter Outline

Opening image copyright Dudarev Mikhail, 2010. Used under license from

For Table in chapter 16 above, from top to bottom,