Mandy Tracey:A world without plants

Plants are are so essential to all humanity, yet we often overlook or take for granted just how much of a role the plant kingdom plays in our lives.



It is unfortunate that botany, the scientific study of plants, is not considered to be of great importance to many. With the growth of the population expected to reach over 9 billion people by the year 2050, botany is

needed now more than ever.

Crops such as wheat, corn, rice and soybeans for example are a major staple diet of many people around the world and important to the economy. Future increase of the global population along with climate change will put a massive strain on global food production. Scientists study the physiology, ecology and genetics of plants to improve the quality and performance of current crop species and to generate donde comprar viagra españa predictions of how plants may respond to future climatic change.



I remember as a budding 1st year one of our biology lecturers displayed an image of a wildlife setting and asked us to describe what we could see. With a class size of over 300 students more than 95% (including myself) said they saw a group of animals, the image included an entire ecosystem but we only noticed one lifeform. Which leads me to my point that most people suffer from “plant blindness” a term coined by Robbie Blackhall-Miles.


All higher organisms depend on plants for their very survival either directly or indirectly. Plants synthesize their own food through the process of photosynthesis and in doing so release oxygen as a by-product. Without plants to produce oxygen the atmosphere as we know it would not exist.

“Life is woven out of air by light” Jacob Moleschott Dutch


Plants are important primary producers of our planet, and support the base of the food web. Remove plants from the food web and the whole system will untangle. Herbivores feed on plants and carnivores in turn feed on herbivores, so as can you see a world without plants would spell the end for life as we know it.


Many important drugs used today have originated from plants. For example aspirin was originally sourced from the bark from the willow tree (Salix). Morphine and codeine are derived from opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). If you go into a chemist you will notice a huge amount of the vitamins and cosmetics are derived from plants, aloe vera, echinacea, seaweed, beta carotene e.t.c.

Plants are also essential material for the building and construction industry and also a source of energy and fuel. Society is dependant on timber for buildings and furniture and so on. Plant derived biofuels are major sources of energy the most common biofuel is ethanol which also produces alcohol.

So if plants were to die off we would have no beer, wine (god forbid), cigerettes or food. We would seriously lack materials to provide shelter and clothe us. The oxygen in the atmosphere would decline, slowly choking us to death and the aesthetic landscapes plants provide would be no more leaving us grey and empty.


So there you have it folks, plants are more than decorative additions to our planet. The entire population of earth depend on plants for survival. So next time you are passing a tree sure go on and give it a hug.


Metamorphosis collaborator

Mandy Tracey





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