Sunday, October 28, 2007

Plants 101: Plant Tissues

Yesterday, I sliced open a stem of my Judd Viburnum (Viburnum juddii) and marveled at the interior, pointing out the vascular bundles and the pith, recognizing the Eudicot vascular formation of this woody angiosperm. We checked out the underside of leaves locating the stomatas. And we opened up buds of a Lilac to see next years buds set in.

Yep, no more walks in the prairie, this class is getting scientific.

Yesterday in my 3rd Plants Class, the hot topic was Plant Tissues, and after reading our "real" college textbook on the subject, we had 1 class dropout. For someone who hasn't taken a science class since 12th grade, and then usually cheated off my lab partner, I was amazed I found any of this interesting. But all a teacher has to do is promise us we can slice open things under a high powered microscopes and you get your class's attention.

If you've never studied plants before (like me) you might find all this pretty interesting. I'm sure the majority of those reading this are thinking, "Ahhh, grasshopper, you have so much to learn. He He He."

For our Plant Tissues discussion, we centered on the class Angiosperms (flowering plants) and their highly developed vascular system (the way in which they bring in water and nutrients for plant growth and development). We looked at diagrams of vascular systems both in the root and the shoot. What makes up the vascular system are complex tissues called Xylem and Phloem.

Wait, there's more!

In woody plants, such as the ones we dissected, instead of dying back each season, the vascular cambium (the secondary vascular system that woody plants have) continues to grow thus giving the woody stems girth and thickening the woody stem. (I hope I have that right).

Finally, we talked about the 2 subclasses of Angiosperms: Monocots and Eudicots. The 2 types have 2 different vascular system layouts and different veinal forms. Woody plants are always eudicots.

Oh there's more we learned (simple plant tissues, the primary meristem, epidermis and growth tissues...) and I could go on, but I don't want my blog to be a substitute for Ambient sleeping pills.

But what I do have to say is that you'll never look at your plants the same again after you've viewed them through the microscope.

Next week: Plant Nutrition & Transport and we get to dissect herbaceous plants and view soil under the microscope.

1 comment:

Carol said...

You're bringing back memories of when I took a course in plant physiology in college. I still have the text book. Maybe I'll crack it open for a walk down memory lane, to marvel that I once knew that stuff. It's nice to know how plants "work", isn't it?