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Types of Plants

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

Plants are a diverse group of organisms that come in many varieties. They play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem balance and are an important part of food chains. Plants come in many sizes, ranging from small herbs to towering trees.

Plants can be broadly classified as vascular plants (which have specialized tissues for transporting water and nutrients) and non-vascular plants. Within this, there are many different types of plants, each with its unique characteristics. In this article, we will be discussing the types of plants based on their growing habits.

Types of Plants

Based on their growing habits, plants could be classified into Herbs, Shrubs, Climbers, Creepers, and Trees.

1. Herbs

Herbs are plants that are typically small in size. The height of herbs is not more than a foot or a few centimetres and consists of small stems. Though small, herbs contain many nutrients, including minerals and vitamins that are healthy for the body. Herbs can be grown from seed, cuttings, or by division and are easy to grow and maintain. They are often grown in gardens or used as garnishes for food. Herbs have a variety of uses, including medicinal, culinary, and spiritual.

  • Culinary uses of herbs: Herbs are used in cooking to add flavour and aroma. They can be used fresh or dried and can be added to soups, marinades and salads. Some examples of herbs used in cooking are oregano, parsley, and rosemary.
  • Aromatic uses of herbs: Herbs contain essential oils that help to promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. They are also used for aromatherapy. Some herbs which are used for aromatic purposes are lavender, rosemary, and peppermint.
  • Medicinal uses of herbs: Herbs are useful in treating various illnesses and ailments. They are used to treat nausea, stomach problems and even anxiety. Some herbs which are used for medicinal purposes are ginger and chamomile. 
  • Spiritual uses of herbs: Herbs are often used for purification and ceremonial and spiritual purposes. Some examples of herbs used for spiritual purposes are basil which is a sacred plant found in Indian homes, and cedar which is used for protection and grounding.

Examples of some herbs are lemongrass, rosemary, basil, parsley, fennel, oregano, bay leaf, and mint. 

2. Shrubs

Shrubs are plants that are bigger in size than herbs but shorter than trees. Shrubs are usually not more than 6-8 meters (20-26 feet) tall. They can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or by layering. Unlike herbs, shrubs have woody stems above the ground and can be evergreen or deciduous. Shrubs also have flowers, fruits, and colourful leaves. Also, shrubs play an important role in preventing soil and water erosion. Shrubs are used in gardens and landscapes for a variety of purposes. Some of the main uses of shrubs are:

  • Windbreaks: Shrubs are used as windbreaks that reduce wind speed and also protect small plants and gardens from damage.
  • Landscaping: Shrubs are used to give a visual appeal to our gardens and landscapes. They can be used as hedges and borders in gardens.
  • Horticulture: Shrubs are also grown for their fruits and nuts, such as raspberries and hazelnuts. They are also used for commercial farming and ornamental purposes.
  • Wildlife habitat: Bushes provide a natural habitat for animals and small insects, and also help in pollination. Shrubs also provide nesting sites for birds and other animals.

Examples of shrubs include rose bushes, bougainvillaea, hibiscus, and lilacs.

3. Climbers

Climbers are plants that grow upward by clinging to a support, such as a trellis or a wall, using tendrils (specialized stem, leaf or petiole with a threadlike shape) or branches. Climbers also use the mechanism of twining, where the stem grows in a spiral pattern and wrap around a support structure. Some climbers like woody climbers are perennials (perennial plants are those which live for years), while some climbers are annuals ( Annual plants complete their life cycle in one growing season). Climbers are beneficial in many ways:

  • Decoration: Climbers can be used to create a more attractive and natural look to gardens, and also to cover unsightly walls or fences.
  • Fruits and flowers: Many climbing plants are cultivated for their fruits and flowers. Such plants include grapevine, kiwi and jasmine.
  • Improved air quality: Climbers are used in green roofs and walls which help to improve overall air quality and provide insulation.

Examples of some climbers are grapevine, money plant and jasmine.

4. Creepers

Creepers are plants that grow horizontally along the ground and have a trailing habit. Creepers have fragile, long, and thin stems that can neither stand erect nor support their weight. Creepers are less advanced than climbers. Creepers are usually found in moist areas including gardens and parks. They are known for their ability to spread quickly and cover large areas of soil. Some of the uses of creepers are:

  • Erosion control: Creeper plants are used to control erosion on slopes or hillsides. They have an extensive root system that helps to hold soil in place and prevent erosion.
  • Food and flowers: Many creepers provide fruits and vegetables like watermelon, strawberries, and pumpkins. Creepers also have flowers of different colours which add visual appearance and texture to gardens.
  • Landscaping: Creepers are used as groundcovers that bloom over a large area. They also help to reduce water loss and prevent weed growth.

Examples of some creepers are pumpkin, watermelon, sweet potatoes, etc.

5. Trees

Trees are plants that are tall, perennial, and have a single stem or trunk. They have woody stems and branches and can grow over 100 feet tall. The trunk of a tree has branches that bear fruits and leaves. Trees are an integral part of biodiversity and play an important role in both the natural and human world. Trees have many uses, some of them are:

  • Oxygen production: Trees produce oxygen by photosynthesis, which is the base for the survival of all living organisms on earth.
  • Carbon sequestration: Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which helps to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
  • Soil conservation: Trees bind the soil to their roots and prevent soil from erosion. Trees also improve soil structure, quality and soil fertility.
  • Timber and other products: Trees provide timber for construction, furniture, paper, instruments, and other building material.  

Examples of some trees are mango, neem, banyan, coconut and an oak tree.

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

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